A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.


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Accessibility is a general term used to describe the degree to which a product (e.g., device, service, environment) is accessible by as many people as possible, and the ventures to produce accessible products and services. Accessibility is often used to focus on people with disabilities and their right of access to entities, often through use of assistive technology.



On Scalable Text

In order to provide scalable text, make textual information text (rather than images), and use relative text sizes (rather than absolute). Scalable text is important for people with low vision. The basics of providing scalable text are very simple. However, strict design requests can pose challenges.

Henry, Shawn Lawton. UI Access (2002). Articles>Web Design>Accessibility>Typography


One Reason Why Section 508 Isn't Working

The article underscores one of the key weaknesses in Section 508 today: the lack of self-regulation and commitment to Section 508 by federal agencies. Since Section 508 was released in June 2001, the primary enforcement focus has been on industry's role and responsibility. The pervasive thinking was that compliance could be better achieved by ensuring that industry designed, developed, and delivered accessible electronic and information technology for agency procurement. And there seems to be merit to this way of thinking. But if federal contracting and procurement officers do not include the 508 requirements as part of their procurement request documentation, industry has no motivation to invest money and resources required to enhance their products for accessibility.

Paciello, Mike. Paciello Group, The (2007). Design>Web Design>Accessibility>Section 508


Online Universal Design and Evaluation Tool

A major project of the Trace Center is the development of an on-line design and evaluation tool to assist product developers in creating better and more usable products. The design tool will lead designers through a process that encourages them to ask questions about their design and provides them with information about aspects or features of their product that might pose access barriers. A listing of possible strategies and ideas they might use to address the accessibility issues or to make their product more generally usable is provided. Specific examples, audio and video clips, copies of reference documents and studies, and resources they can contact or refer to will all be included over time.

University of Wisconsin. Design>Usability>Accessibility>Universal Usability


Optimización de Páginas Web Para Su Impresión

Los usuarios odian leer en pantalla, por lo que muchas veces preferirán imprimir los documentos web para que su lectura les resulte menos tediosa. En este trabajo comentaré tres posibles técnicas de optimización para la correcta impresión de documentos web, indicando las ventajas e inconvenientes de cada una.

Hassan Montero, Yusef. Nosolousabilidad.com (2003). (Spanish) Design>Web Design>Accessibility>Bandwidth


Our SIG’s “e-Lifelines”: Tapping Online Resources to Help Meet Special Needs   (PDF)

The Special Needs SIG’s 'e-Lifelines' come in four categories: (1) a comprehensive Web site, (2) a dynamic and data-rich online newsletter, (3) a robust listserv, and (4) specialized e-mail distributions. This paper will take a quick look at each of these 4. More details will be provided in Session UID 8E, “From Disabled to Enabled: Meeting Special Needs to Ensure Accessibility.” During the freeform part of the progression, attendees will have an opportunity to locate areas of specific interest to them, ask questions, and give suggestions and feedback to the facilitators that will help make the Special Needs Web site even more effective and valuable. Attendees will receive a copy of the SIG newsletter and a current list of disabilityrelated Web resources.

Lockley, Cynthia A. and Mike Murray. STC Proceedings (2003). Articles>Accessibility>Online


Overcoming Environmental Barriers

On May 3, 2008, something extraordinary happened: the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities went into effect. The goals of the Convention are lofty: it insists that all persons with all types of disabilities must enjoy all human rights and fundamental freedoms and sets out eight guiding principles and obligations to meet them.

Quesenbery, Whitney. Usability Professionals Association (2008). Articles>Usability>Accessibility>International


Overdoing Accessibility

Sometimes when people first learn about Web accessibility they look for quick ways of improving the sites they build. This often leads to misuse or overuse of certain HTML features that are meant to aid accessibility, but when used wrongly have no effect and can actually have the opposite effect by making the page less accessible and less usable.

Johansson, Roger. 456 Berea Street (2008). Articles>Web Design>Accessibility


Overview of the Web Accessibility Initiative

An online presentation explaining why Web accessibility is important and what the Web Accessibility Initiative does.

Brewer, Judy. W3C (2003). Presentations>Slideshows>Accessibility



This site has been created as a venue for sharing web content accessibility information in Australia.

OZeWAI. Design>Accessibility>Regional>Australia


Page Source Order and Accessibility

In this presentation, the authors report on a survey and testing with screen reader users designed to determine how the placement of navigation in the source order (before or after content) affects accessibility.

Hudson, Roger and Russ Weakley. OzeWAI (2005). Presentations>Web Design>Accessibility


PDF and Accessibility

The rapid growth in the use of PDFs on Websites has lead to increasing concerns about accessibility, particularly for the users of screen reading technology, which converts text into synthetic speech or electronic Braille.

Hudson, Roger. WebUsability (2004). Articles>Accessibility>Software>Adobe Acrobat


PDF Can Comply With Section 508. Now It's Your Move

A blind person cannot read from a screen any more than from a printed page. Technologies nonetheless exist that allow blind and other disabled users impressively full-featured access to documents. To be accessible, however, the document contents must be available to these so-called 'assistive' technologies.

Johnson, Duff. PlanetPDF (2003). Articles>Accessibility>Adobe Acrobat>Section 508


PDFs and Accessibility

Adobe Acrobat Portable Document Format (PDF) is a file format that allows the page creator to ensure that all fonts, formatting and graphics etc are preserved throughout the document regardless of the platform on which it is being viewed. Due to the control the author has over the style of the document, a number of accessibility problems can be identified.

Draffan, E.A. and Sue Harrison. TechDis (2002). Design>Information Design>Accessibility>Adobe Acrobat


PDFs and Section 508: Compliance, Accessibility, and Usability   (PDF)

This paper addresses limitations and problematic issues of usability and accessibility involved in the creation and use of Adobe Acrobat PDF files for people with visual impairments who use screen readers as an assistive device. In some cases, due to technological limitations, PDF documents can present information incorrectly to such persons. A document which is accessibility compliant may then not be fully usable by individuals with visual impairments. The lack of specific guidelines for accessible PDF documents complicates the issue, though a series of W3C PDF Checkpoints provides some guidance. Problematic issues discussed include footnotes, special characters and formats, acronyms and abbreviations, and tables.

Dolin, Samantha and Jane L. Willig. STC Proceedings (2004). Articles>Accessibility>Adobe Acrobat>Section 508


A Personal Reflection on the WCAG 2.0 Publication

Let's work together as a community to make WCAG 2.0 a unifying force for web accessibility. There are so many websites and exciting new web applications being created today with accessibility barriers that make it difficult or impossible for some people with disabilities to use them. Let's change that, with WCAG 2.0.

Henry, Shawn Lawton. W3C (2008). Articles>Web Design>Accessibility>Standards


Photosensitive Epilepsy

Photosensitive epilepsy is a form of epilepsy that is triggered by visual stimuli, such as flickering or high contrast oscillating patterns, and it's believed that around 3% to 5% of people with epilepsy are susceptible to photosensitive material. Photosensitive epilepsy is usually triggered where the flicker rate is between 16Hz to 25Hz, although it's not uncommon for seizures to be triggered by flicker rates between 3Hz to 60Hz. The condition most commonly effects children, and is usually developed between the ages of 9 and 15 years, and most prevalent in females.

Lemon, Gez. Juicy Studio (2006). Design>Web Design>Accessibility>Cognitive Psychology


Pitfalls of Web Accessibility Evaluation Tools

Automated web accessibility evaluation tools are hard to trust, understand and only provides feedback on a small amount of factors that influence accessibility. Also, a unified web evaluation methodology should be adopted to provide consistent results across tools.

Standards Schmandards (2009). Articles>Web Design>Accessibility>Assessment


Plongez dans l'Accessibilité

Ce livre répond à deux questions. La première question est Pourquoi je dois rendre mon site web plus accessible ? Si vous n'avez pas de sites web, ce livre n'est pas pour vous. La seconde question est Comment puis-je rendre mon site web plus accessible ? Si vous n'êtes pas convaincu par la première réponse, vous ne serez pas interessé par la seconde.

Pilgrim, Mark. Dive Into Accessibility (2002). (French) Books>Web Design>Accessibility


Position Paper on the Suitability to Task of Automated Utilities for Testing Web Accessibility Compliance

Automated tools can make our jobs significantly easier, more thorough, and more cost effective. But, they are only the first necessary step in addressing accessibility-removing the barriers. We must now address the special condition of usability related to handicapped users and accept that user-based evaluation is the only true test of success.

Killam, Bill and Bill Holland. Usability Interface (2003). Design>Web Design>Accessibility


PowerPoint Accessibility Techniques

There's nothing wrong with posting presentations in their original format; however, you must also post an HTML-based version to ensure maximum accessibility.

WebAIM (2003). Presentations>Accessibility>Design>Microsoft PowerPoint


Practical Plans for Accessible Architectures

Accessible design requires a deeper understanding of context. It's about providing alternative routes to information, whether that route is a different sense (seeing or hearing), a different mode, (using a tab key or a mouse), or a different journey (using an A to Z site index instead of main navigation). However, accessibility is much easier to achieve when the right foundations are put in place as prerequisites during site planning and strategy.

Forman, Frances. Boxes and Arrows (2007). Design>Web Design>Accessibility


Presentation Traps 8: The Knowledge Trap

“And here, you see…. But the lack of knowledge leaves us blind – a temporary type of blindness, assuredly, but blindness nevertheless. For knowledge only lights up the world of the expert.

Lebrun, Jean-Luc. When The Scientist Presents (2010). Presentations>Scientific Communication>Accessibility


Prettier Accessible Forms

Forms are a pain. You can make them pretty, make them accessible, or go a little crazy trying to achieve both. Nick Rigby offers a happy solution.

Rigby, Nick. List Apart, A (2006). Design>Web Design>Accessibility>Forms


Print and Online Resources about Web Accessibility: An Annotated Bibliography   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

This annotated bibliography discusses over 120 print and online resources related to Web accessibility. It lists and describes resources that offer practical advice on how to implement accessibility, particularly in relation to the WCAG 1.0 and Section 508 standards. It also summarizes the findings of empirical studies that have examined Web site accessibility via automated tests, such as Bobby, and studies that have gauged user performance with assistive technologies, such as screen readers. The bibliography lists forums for discussing accessibility with other practitioners and researchers, and it cites sources for news and events related to accessibility. The bibliography concludes with a short discussion of trends in accessibility research.

Mackiewicz, Jo M. Technical Communication Online (2006). Resources>Bibliographies>Accessibility>Web Design


The Problem with Automated Accessibility Testing Tools

Automated accessibility testing tools can be useful, but there are a number of disadvantages with relying on them.

Moss, Trenton. Webcredible (2005). Design>Web Design>Accessibility



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