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.



Usability and Accessibility of PDAs in Education

This report is targeted towards students, teachers and educational technology specialists in order to help them understand the practical issues of Personal Digital Assistants, also known as Palmtops or Handheld PCs.

Rainger, Peter. TechDis (2002). Articles>Education>Accessibility>Usability


Usability and Accessibility with AJAX

The Ajax express train rumbles on, threatening to crush anything in its path. Recent discussion has turned to those critical elements of good web development, usability and accessibility. Accessibility is a major issue with Ajax, mainly because anything that relies on JavaScript to function is inaccessible pretty much by default. There are two solutions: either provide a fall-back system where the site remains useful without its Ajax enhancements, or provide a whole separate interface that works without scripting.

Willison, Simon. SitePoint (2005). Design>Web Design>Accessibility>Ajax


Usability for Older Web Users

The number of older web users is growing at a dramatic rate. Find out how to make your website easy to use for this lucrative market.

Fidgeon, Tim. Webcredible (2006). Design>Web Design>Accessibility>Elderly


Usability of Websites for Teenagers

When using websites, teenagers have a lower success rate than adults and they're also easily bored. To work for teens, websites must be simple -- but not childish -- and supply plenty of interactive features.

Nielsen, Jakob. Alertbox (2005). Articles>Web Design>Accessibility>Children


Usability Spotter #5: HP Laptop Touch Pads with Scroll Zones- Absence of Tactile Cue

Summary The issue with HP laptops that have a touch pad with a scroll zone contained it (as shown in image A) is that they do not provide a tactile cue for the user to help interpret what section of the touch pad the finger is positioned at. In the absence of a tactile cue, it is difficult for the user to determine whether the finger is on touch pad or the scroll zone without looking at it, resulting in the accidental scrolling on the screen when actually the user simply wants to move the cursor. The issue and multiple solutions are discussed ahead.

Rautela, Abhay. Cone Trees (2009). Articles>Usability>Accessibility>User Centered Design


Usable Access

On this site you'll find information, resources, and the latest news on web site usability and accessibility issues, with a healthy dose of web standards advocacy thrown in for good measure.

Usable Access. Resources>Usability>Accessibility>Blogs


Usable Accessibility: Making Web Sites Work Well for People with Disabilities

When people talk about both usability and accessibility, it is often to point out how they differ. Accessibility often gets pigeon-holed as simply making sure there are no barriers to access for screen readers or other assistive technology, without regard to usability, while usability usually targets everyone who uses a site or product, without considering people who have disabilities. In fact, the concept of usability often seems to exclude people with disabilities, as though just access is all they are entitled to. What about creating a good user experience for people with disabilities—going beyond making a Web site merely accessible to make it truly usable for them?

Quesenbery, Whitney. UXmatters (2009). Articles>Web Design>Accessibility>Usability


Usable, Accessible Web Pages for Low Vision: Criteria for Designers   (PDF)

This paper identifies challenges for design of web pages for low vision. It examines key usability considerations (subject, occasion, audience, and purpose) for defining content for web pages and emphasizes seven basic principles of universal design. SOAP for web pages is a model that web page developers can use to define content criteria for websites. The model emphasizes an interdisciplinary approach to audience, needs, task, and requirements analysis. It discusses a user–centered approach (capture, specify, plan, realize, deliver) to usability testing. Additionally, this paper summarizes key findings from low vision research on type legibility. The paper concludes with design principles that can be derived from print–based studies (normal and subnormal vision) for developing accessible web pages.

Reece, Gloria A. STC Proceedings (2001). Design>Web Design>Accessibility>Visual


Usando o Jaws Para Testar Acessibilidade

Este artigo destina-se a ensinar aos usuários não familiarizados com o JAWS os procedimentos básicos necessários a avaliar a acessibilidade do conteúdo web e servir como uma espécie de guia de referência para o usuário ocasional deste programa.

CSS para Webdesign (2005). (Portuguese) Articles>Web Design>Accessibility>Assessment


Use First Letter as AcessKey

The traditional way of implementing the HTML accesskey attribute using unique letters does not work. I propose always to use the first letter of the link name as access key. The first letter can be generated by code. We badly need are more accessible Internet.

Tverskov, Jesper. Smack the Mouse (2002). Design>Web Design>Accessibility


Use the Label Element to Make Your HTML Forms Accessible

There are plenty of articles and tutorials that describe how to create accessible HTML forms out there. Despite that it is common to come across forms that do not use a single label element and forms that use label elements but do so incorrectly.

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


User Style Sheet Wizard

This is a simple 'wizard tool' to create a User Style Sheet. These can be extremely useful for students with visual impairments, scotopic senstivity or visual processing difficulties such as some forms of dyslexia. User Style Sheets are a client-side application of Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), they can be used to overide the presentation of HTML based web pages. They can be extremely powerful in enforcing the way in which the user desires a web page to be presented. You can set option of text font, size and colour. The font colour of hyperlinks etc. The user style sheets can be used in Internet Explorer, Opera and Mozilla.

TechDis (2003). Design>Web Design>Accessibility>Software


User-Centred Design (UCD): 6 Methods

Learn all about user-centered design, the methods available to you, and how and when they should be employed.

Fidgeon, Tim. Webcredible (2005). Design>User Centered Design>Accessibility>Usability


User-Defined Access Keys

Access keys are a contentious area of accessibility, as they can sometimes clash with the shortcut keys used by user agents. One method to get around this problem is to allow users to define their own access keys. This post suggests a PHP class that allows users to define their own access keys.

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


User-Defined Style Sheets and Accessibility

How you can set your own stylesheet for greater accessibility; another lecture/essay.

Bartlett, Kynn. HTML Writers Guild (1999). Design>Web Design>Accessibility>CSS


Users with Special Needs

Users with special needs who are not sufficiently visually impaired to require assistive technologies can still be frustrated by poor contrast, problematic colour schemes, or tiny, unreadable text. Up to 10% of men are colour blind to some extent, and the increasing number of older users are less likely to have 20/20 vision than those designing the pages.

Frontend Infocentre (2006). Design>Web Design>Accessibility


Using an Access-Centered Design to Improve Accessibility: A Primer for Technical Communicators   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

This article discusses accessibility barriers as defined by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and provides a basic primer on how technical communicators can remove these barriers during their Web design process and test to ensure the barriers were removed. The article focuses on 10 common barriers to a meaningful experience for people with disabilities, barriers that a technical communicator can consider when designing online information. Working on accessibility issues before online information goes live will help to reduce re-work and re-design and can save a lot of headaches for a technical communicator.

Roberts, Linda Enders. Technical Communication Online (2006). Articles>Web Design>Accessibility


Using Customized Sounds Effectively

Learn about the advantages of, as well as common tools for creating customizable sounds.

Microsoft (2002). Design>Accessibility>Software>Audio


Using JAWS to Evaluate Web Accessibility

This article is designed to help users who are new to JAWS learn the basic controls for testing web content, and to serve as a reference for the occasional JAWS user.

WebAIM (2005). Articles>Web Design>Accessibility>Assessment


Using Opera to Check for Accessibility

There are a lot of tools available to check your Web content for accessibility. Some tools are Web-based (such as WAVE 3.0). Other tools are stand-alone software products that you install on your hard drive. One tool that you may have overlooked is the Opera Web browser. Opera is not an accessibility validator—it's a Web browser—but it can act like an accessibility validator if you know how to use it that way. In fact, it's one of the best available. This article explains why.

WebAIM (2003). Articles>Web Design>Accessibility>Software


UVIP Web Test

A mailing list where web page developers can get assistance for having their web pages tested by visually impaired users.

Yahoo. Resources>Mailing Lists>Accessibility>Web Design


Il Vero Costo Dell'accessibilità Web

La realizzazione dei contenuti incide profondamente sul costo di un sito accessibile. L'uso di standard consolidati e di tutti i tag ed attributi dell'(X)Html accessibile la rende però una soluzione vantaggiosa, poiché ne riduce la successiva manutenzione e revisione.

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


Video Game Accessibility

I normally focus on web site accessibility, but after one of my favorite video games of 2009 recently won an award for its consideration to disabled players, it got me thinking about the subject.

Art of Web Accessibility, The (2010). Articles>Accessibility>User Interface>Games


Videos on Computer Accessibility

A collection of videos that show how people with various disabilities use assistive technology with their computers, which may help developers understand the diverse accessibility needs that should be met by their projects.

AssistiveWare (2007). Resources>Accessibility>Usability>Video


The "Vision Thing"

It's important for Web designers to have a basic understanding of the mechanics of human visual perception. To the extent that your pages are 'easy on the eyes,' readers will find your site more inviting and more readable. Conversely, pages that visually overstimulate a reader are not only more difficult to read, but much more likely to result in eyestrain, fatigue, even headaches (none of which is particularly popular among readers).

Sullivan, Terry. All Things Web (1996). Design>Usability>Accessibility>Web Design



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