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.



Seven Screen Reader Usability Tips

Simply ensuring that your Website is accessible to screen reader users is, unfortunately, not enough to guarantee that these users can find what they're looking for in a reasonably quick and efficient manner. Even if your site is accessible to screen reader users, its usability could be so poor that they needn't have bothered stooping by in the first place.

Moss, Trenton. SitePoint (2005). Articles>Web Design>Accessibility>Usability


Side-by-Side Comparison of Section 508 and WCAG

The differences between the Section 508 accessibility guidelines and the W3C's Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).

Thatcher, Jim. JimThatcher.com (2004). Design>Web Design>Accessibility>Section 508


Simplemente Pregunta: Integración de la Accesibilidad en el Diseño

La accesibilidad consiste en diseñar productos para que las personas con discapacidad puedan utilizarlos y hace que las interfaces de usuario sean perceptibles, operables y comprensibles para personas con distintos tipos de capacidades y en circunstancias, entornos y condiciones diferentes. De esta forma, la accesibilidad también beneficia a personas sin discapacidad y a las organizaciones que desarrollan productos accesibles.

Henry, Shawn Lawton. uiAccess (2007). (Spanish) Books>Accessibility>User Centered Design


SNOW (Special Needs Opportunity Windows) Just-in-Time, On-Line Information for Educators

Computer hardware, software and Internet connections - these are the new tools for education which are appearing in classrooms everywhere. At the same time, more and more students with special needs are taking part in the "regular" school activities as educators are asked to integrate these learners into their mainstream classrooms.

Gay, Greg and Laurie Harrison. University of Toronto (2006). Articles>Education>Accessibility


The Social Publishing Blog

Advice, guides and reviews from web accessibility specialist, Matthew Ogston.

Ogston, Matthew. Social Publishing Blog, The (2002). Design>Web Design>Accessibility


Software Driving Software: Active Accessibility-Compliant Apps Give Programmers New Tools to Manipulate Software

Starting from the basics of Active Accessibility, this article leads you through the development of a software testing application. You'll see how this testing application interacts with common controls and other UI elements, then processes the resulting WinEvents.

Klementiev, Dmitri. Microsoft (2000). Articles>Accessibility>Software>Microsoft Windows


Speaking ALT Text

I have a few late model screen readers and I also have simple audio recording tools. I'll use them to get you closer to what these screen readers actually say. I'll start a collection of recordings so you can hear for yourself what these tools say.

Easton, Bob. Access Matters (2005). Articles>Web Design>Accessibility>Usability


The Speechlet Project

Speechlet is a system which allows blind students of the Java programming language to use existing course material. Most Java courses use program examples that generate graphic output. The main reason for this is that students enjoy writing programs that produce interesting and exciting outputs. However, a blind student is unable to see the output of their program and is unable to even gauge that their program has worked. Speechlet was therefore produced to allow a blind student to move the mouse pointer over the screen and hear a spoken description of what is there. This paper discusses the reasons for the development of Speechlet, followed by a description of its operation and finally a discussion of its use in practise.

Mullier, D.J. TechDis (2003). Articles>Web Design>Accessibility>Software


STC Special Needs Special Interest Group

The Special Needs SIG serves as a focal point both to help members with special needs achieve their potential and to help ensure the accessibility of technical communication products to end users with special needs. We accomplish this by researching and publishing information about products, services, and literature that can assist technical communicators with disabilities in their career activities and to assist all technical communicators in developing products that are fully accessible to users with disabilities.

STC. Organizations>Accessibility>Usability


Stephen Hawking and Me - Flash MX Accessibility

An article that features tips on building accessible sites in Flash MX.

evolt (2003). Design>Web Design>Accessibility>Flash


The Stomper Scrutinizer: Web Browser w/Visual Simulation   (members only)

The Stomper Scrutinizer is a webkit based browser that includes a simulation of human foveal and peripheral vision. By providing a realistic distortion of non-focused page content, the Scrutinizer reveals the perceptability of design features. It is also useful for conducting usability tests, design reviews, and has a number of features (including screenshots) for talking about design.

Andy Edmonds. StomperNet (2007). Resources>Software>Accessibility>Web Design


Stop Using Ajax!

We got things like browser wars, browser-specific DHTML, and table-based layouts. These were things that got in the way of the original vision, because people wanted rich content when the technology wasn’t ready. And now it’s happening again.

Opera (2008). Articles>Web Design>Accessibility>Ajax


Strategy for Handling Legacy PDF Accessibility

The web is saturated with Portable Document Format (PDF) files. For more than 20 years PDF has been the de facto standard for print documents on the web. PDF files are also notorious for their lack of accessibility. With legacy PDFs running into the thousands on many websites, just how can you tackle the job of making them accessible?

Watson, Léonie. Humanising Technology Blog (2012). Articles>Accessibility>Information Design>Adobe Acrobat


The Struggle for Book Access: Amazon

The Kindle2 is a hot topic in the disability field right now. Many print-disabled people (people who are blind, severely dyslexic or a have a physical disability that keeps them from reading regular print books) see electronic books as a dream come true. But, it's a dream that the commercial ebook vendors keep dashing.

Fruchterman, Jim. Benetech (2009). Articles>Publishing>Accessibility>eBooks


Stuckness and Low Vision: How Technology and Socratic Classroom Dialog Changed My Life   (PDF)

The author shares some stories from her own life that may be useful in helping Web page designers and product developers better understand issues surrounding low vision, hearing loss, and mobility restrictions using her 'art of accommodation.' In this article, she discusses this art as it applies to seven areas: (1) reading structural cues and wayfinding, (2) multimedia, (3) graphics, (4) text design and visual threshold, (5) contrast, (6) glare and size of electronic displays, and (7) mobility.

Reece, Gloria A. STC Proceedings (2005). Articles>Education>Accessibility>Web Design


Stuckness and Low Vision: How Technology and Socratic Classroom Dialogue Changed my Life

Gloria discusses her low-vision condition, the problems it poses in her life and work and the accommodation strategies she has developed.

Reece, Gloria A. Usability Interface (2003). Design>Usability>Accessibility>Visual


Suggerimenti per un Flash Accessibile

Realizzare siti usabili in Flash è una questione di mentalità e non di prodotto. L'autore ci indica 10 suggerimenti per rendere le animazioni Flash più usabili ed accessibili.

Volpon, Antonio. FucinaWeb (2002). (Italian) Design>Web Design>Accessibility>Flash


Summer Internship @ Google, Inc.: Accessibility Experiences

This paper summarizes some of the major lessons learned about conducting usability tests with visually impaired participants while working as interns at Google, Inc. The lessons were in four major areas: (1) recruitment and scheduling, (2) preparing the usability lab for testing sessions, (3) using think-aloud protocol with screen readers, and (4) helping observers to get the most out of the test sessions.

Shaikh, A. Dawn and Philip Strain. Usability News (2007). Careers>Internships>Accessibility>Visual


Supporting Comprehension for Everyone

Many a scientific study has been commissioned and conducted exploring the fascinatingly complex cognitive process we go through when we read. One long-standing theory, first proposed in 1886, centered around the idea of rapid pattern recognition and recall—known as the word shape recognition model. It was believed that repeatedly exposing our eyes to the pattern or shape a single word would form enabled us to quickly recognise and recall it from memory. Further weight was lent to this theory when it was proved that letters could be more accurately recognised in the context of a word than in isolation—known as the word superiority effect.

Ingram, Richard. Johnny Holland (2010). Articles>Usability>Accessibility>Cognitive Psychology


Surpassing Gutenberg--Access to Published Information for Blind Readers

We examine some surprising reasons to explain why electronic book publishing will become a versatile medium comprising 10% of all consumer book sales in the U.S. by 2005, estimated by Anderson Consulting at $2.3 billion. The Association of American Publishers (AAP) and the Open Electronic Book Forum (OEBF) both pin this expectation on open standards--any book, anytime, anywhere, for anyone. Electronic books will succeed, we argue, in part because they provide communicative opportunities not available in traditional, static print media. But, they will also succeed because of developments in technology for blind readers which will benefit all readers regardless of ability or disability. As evidence we offer, among other points, Microsoft Corporation's licensing of technology developed to benefit blind people for use in Microsoft Reader and mainstream publishing applications. We demonstrate, further, that technology transfer from disability to mainstream use has solid historic precedent.

Sajka, Janina and George Kerscher. American Foundation for the Blind (2002). Design>Usability>Accessibility>Visual


SVG Linearization and Accessibility

The usage of SVG creates new possibilities as well as new challenges for the accessibility of Web sites. This paper presents a metadata vocabulary to describe the information content of an SVG file geared towards accessibility. When used with a suitable tool, this metadata description can help in generating a textual ('linear') version of the content, which can be used for users with disabilities or with non-visual devices.

Herman, Ivan and Daniel Dardailler. SVG Open (2002). Design>Web Design>Accessibility>SVG


Tabbing Through Flash

A way of avoiding the problem with embedding Flash on a web page (which you cannot tab out of).

Norgaard, John. Sonokids (2004). Design>Web Design>Accessibility>Flash


Take the Colorblindness Test

Although we all know that the colors viewed on your computer's monitor are not accurate for print reproduction, your screen color is probably good enough to yield reasonably accurate colorblindness test results. We invite you now to test yourself for colorblindness on-line.

Copresco (2005). Resources>Accessibility>Visual>Color


A Tale of Two Initiatives

During the past few months, two new initiatives have been launched which could significantly affect everyone involved in website accessibility: EuroAccessibility and UKDeAN.

Kessler, Dennis. Accessify (2003). Articles>Accessibility>Standards>Europe



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