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.



Accessibility on the Mac

It pains me to say that pretty much any computer user with a relevant disability ought to be using Windows, not a Mac.

Clark, Joe. Tidbits (2002). Design>Web Design>Accessibility>Macintosh


Accessibility on the Web   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

The Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) is a key resource for usable web accessibility. WAI’s accessibility standards are developed through the W3C process in cooperation with individuals and organizations around the world, with a goal of providing a set of standards that meets the needs of individuals, organizations, and governments internationally. In addition to standards, WAI produces many documents that offer guidance on how to include accessibility in a good user-centered design process, including people with disabilities and their needs early in the process. Other work of WAI focuses on how building on the benefits of accessibility for other audiences, such as older adults, people on limited bandwidth and users of mobile devices.

Henry, Shawn Lawton. UPA User Experience Magazine (2010). Articles>Accessibility>Web Design


Accessibility on the Web: A Brief Overview

In order to make your website as accessible as possible, not only to users with disabilities, but also to those with slow connections, or different browsers or operating systems, the best guidelines to follow are those offered by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Web Accessibility Initiative.

McCarthy, Dave. TechDis (2001). Design>Web Design>Accessibility


Accessibility or Design Integrity   (PDF)

This paper presents two sides of a debate over user-controlled text sizing of Web-based documents, and a suggested approach for designing Web sites that support full use of user-controlled text sizing, while maintaining the integrity of a site’s visual design.

Payne, John and Phil Oye. STC Proceedings (2004). Design>Web Design>Accessibility


The Accessibility Project

For many web developers, accessibility is complex and somewhat difficult. The Accessibility Project understands that and we want to help to make web accessibility easier for front end developers to implement.

Accessibility Project, The (2014). Resources>Web Design>Accessibility


The Accessibility Statement: What Is It, And Who Uses It?

On an increasing number of web sites you can find the phrase "accessibility statement". Sometimes it is very visible and hard to miss, in other cases we can barely find it. Did you ever read any of these statements? If you ever did, do you read it on all sites where you find them? In this article I will explain what is the accessibility statement, and give you a couple of points to decide if you need it on your web site.

Even Grounds (2010). Articles>Web Design>Accessibility


Accessibility Testing on a Budget

How do you find out how your site sounds? Without dipping in to the wallet, here are some suggestions about how you can test your pages.

Accessify (2003). Design>Web Design>Accessibility>Visual


Accessibility Testing: Case History of Blind Testers of Enterprise Software   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

How do software companies evaluate whether accessibility criteria mandated by law are met? Confirmation is often provided by filling out a checklist. However, the method used for determining compliance to the checklist is not specified. Typically the task of filling out the checklist is done by accessibility specialists, usability professionals, quality assurance testers, or, in one case we know of, the development team that wrote the software. We have conducted several types of accessibility evaluations, walkthroughs, and testing with scenarios by sighted test participants and testing by blind test participants. While testing with blind participants takes considerable preparation time, we have uncovered important findings that were not revealed with sighted participants. We consider accessibility testing by blind participants an important component of our evaluations.

Bayer, Nancy L. and Lisa Pappas. Technical Communication Online (2006). Articles>Accessibility>Testing>Visual


Accessibility Tips for Website Construction

This paper provides ten key tips to help improve the accessibility of any website, or intranet. It's not intended to be an introduction to web accessibility.

Kennedy, Patrick. Step Two (2006). Articles>Web Design>Accessibility


Accessibility to the Face

Empathy is what separates us from the rest of the animal kingdom. We have an ability to imagine things the way that others see them and how it makes them feel. We don’t even have to have a disability ourselves. Accessibility is NOT a checklist. Accessibility is about usability. Accessibility is a paradigm shift. Accessibility is a personal issue.

Foster, Rob. northtemple (2009). Articles>Accessibility>User Centered Design>User Experience


Accessibility Tutorials

A collection of tutorials to help web designers understand accessibility issues.

Accessify. Resources>Tutorials>Accessibility>Web Design


Accessibility—Good Business, Best Practice   (PDF)   (members only)

Roberts and Pappas introduce their new column on accessibility by showcasing how accessibility can be a good business practice and increase a company’s bottom line.

Roberts, Linda Enders and Lisa Pappas. Intercom (2009). Articles>Accessibility>Business Case


Accessibility, Web Standards, and Authoring Tools

It's been a long trip, but we’re almost out of the dark. We finally have browsers that offer substantial support for several technologies established by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and other standards bodies. Designers and developers can use many core features of XHTML and CSS and sometimes DHTML without worrying about the hazards of cross–browser chicanery. As browsers have evolved, it’s become easier to comply with the W3C’s Web Accessibility initiative (WAI) and, in the United States, with the amendments to Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1974 (commonly called “Section 508”).

Schmitt, Christopher. List Apart, A (2002). Design>Web Design>Accessibility>Standards


Accessibility: Some Honest Talk

I'm not saying we shouldn't do it; I just wish the conversation about accessibility would be more frank when it comes to the opportunity costs and real costs to implement it. And I'm embarrassed by my own petty frustration in having to accommodate someone who has a real beef with the world and a legitimate cause for frustration.

Hughes, Michael A. Humane Experience, The (2011). Articles>Accessibility


Accessibility: The Missing Ingredient

Why is accessibility often treated as an afterthought? Key factors include lack of tools and specifications, weak industry demand, and developer laziness.

Hoffman, Andrew. List Apart, A (2014). Articles>Web Design>Accessibility


Accessibility: The Politics of Design

Herrell deconstructs the new U.S. accessibility regulations and their implications for web designers everywhere. Part of our ongoing series on accessibility in web design.

Herrell, Alan. List Apart, A (2001). Design>Accessibility>Web Design>Regulation


Accessible And Attractive Websites

And, as a result, selling the concept is never all that easy. Sure, you can harp on about all the 'business benefits' (potential increased audienced, reduced bandwidth costs, good PR), but what you really need to be able to do is show that it's possible to do this without compromising on the design. That's often where the problems begin.

Lloyd, Ian. SitePoint (2003). Design>Web Design>Accessibility


Accessible By Design

The demand for accessible sites is growing, but web workers, like you, are often unclear how to make sites more accessible. Designing an accessible site isn't necessarily harder, but it involves unique limitations that make you approach design from a different perspective.

Pavka, Anitra. Digital Web Magazine (2002). Articles>Web Design>Accessibility


Accessible Design for Users With Disabilities

Making the Web more accessible for users with various disabilities is to a great extent a matter of using HTML the way it was intended: to encode meaning rather than appearance. As long as a page is coded for meaning, it is possible for alternative browsers to present that meaning in ways that are optimized for the abilities of individual users and thus facilitate the use of the Web by disabled users.

Nielsen, Jakob. Alertbox (1996). Design>Web Design>Accessibility


Accessible Expanding and Collapsing Menu

A website’s navigation should, in my opinion, be visible and straightforward, not hidden away like this or in flyout/dropdown menus. But...

Johansson, Roger. 456 Berea Street (2007). Articles>Web Design>Accessibility>DHTML


Accessible Folksonomies

I’ve been thinking about one particular artifact of the folksonomy phenomenon — the folksonomy menu that serves as a sort of buzz index providing users with a quick visualization of the most popular tags (technically I think it’s called a weighted list). Popular tags are displayed in a larger font and it’s relatively easy to identify hot topics at a glance. This visual representation of the popularity of any given tag is undeniably cool. However, once the coolness factor wears off it becomes fairly obvious that these menus are also not very accessible.

alt tags (2005). Articles>Web Design>Accessibility>Metadata


Accessible Graphs and Charts Online

Most government web writers are knowledgeable about alt-text by now... or at least semi-knowledgeable. But sometimes, alt-text is not enough.

McAlpine, Rachel. Quality Web Content (2004). Design>Accessibility>Web Design>Charts and Graphs


Accessible HTML/XHTML Forms

Forms are often the most tricky aspect of web development for beginners to get their head around, largely because it means stepping out of the comfort zone of one-way information - no longer are you simply presenting information at the person viewing your site, now you are asking for input, for feedback that you have to process in some way. And just as it may be difficult for HTML beginners to understand just how they handle form data, so is it difficult to understand some of the issues relating to accessibility.

Lloyd, Ian. Web Standards Project (2004). Articles>Web Design>Accessibility>Forms


Accessible Java using JAAPI

Due to the proliferation of Java applications and applets on the Internet, it is essential that accessibility barriers are not introduced during their development.

O'Gribin, Niall. Erigena (2006). Articles>Accessibility>Programming>Java


An Accessible Method of Hiding HTML Content

Though somewhat rare, there are occasions when the accessibility needs of screen reader users appear to be at odds with the needs of visual users. This kind of conflict occurs when Web developers put form elements inside of a data table matrix, when they want to use images as headings instead of text, and in other situations. Adding extra text helps screen reader users, but can complicate the visual layout, thus reducing understandability. One solution is to use CSS to hide the text from sighted users in a way that is still accessible to screen readers. The details of this technique are discussed, along with the technical reasoning behind it.

Bohman, Paul. WebAIM (2002). Design>Web Design>Accessibility



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