December 23, 2002
Seasonal break time!
It’s that time of year when everything shuts down for the Christmas holidays, and this site is no exception. Well, it’s still open (host permitting) but don’t expect any new updates until early next year! Until then, we hope that Santa brings you what you want. Merry Christmas and a happy new year to all our readers.
December 19, 2002
Watchfire’s decision to limit the number of requests to the Bobby accessibility validation tool is proving a hinderance to many developers. However, Bobby is not the only free online validation tool available.
WebAIM have released an alpha version of WAVE 3.0, an online tool that provides visual feedback to web developers. The tool displays the tested site with its original design, inserting markers for existing accessibility features such as access-keys and alt text as well as warning of non-valid markup. Testing can be made for both WAI and Section 508 compliance.
WAVE also has a few more tricks such as detecting “suspicious alt text”. Examples include alt text that is very lenghthy and would better suit a long description, or non-sensical text such as “image.jpg”. WAVE could well be a worthy alternative to waiting for Bobby.
December 18, 2002
User Agent Guidelines completed
The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has finalised guidelines for building browsers and media players that work better for people with disabilities. Known as the ‘User Agent Accessibility Guidelines‘, they are designed to give application designers the information they need to make accommodation in their software such that disabled people can use them too, for example by providing ways for screen readers or Braille translators to access the required document information.
More information on this story is available over at ZDNet
December 13, 2002
Do as we say, not as we do …
Spotted on WebAIM’s discussion subscription page - an example of how not to code a form for accessibility. Perhaps the author of their How to Create Accessible Forms should tell them what’s wrong. In summary, the radio button controls should come before, not after the text. And the forgot to use the <label> tag too - which means a lot of people are going to be getting the wrong list (see this image for a visual demonstraton)
One tool you can’t afford to miss
There’s a brand new tool in the Tools & Wizards section, and we think you’re gonna like this one! Quickly create an entire accessible form (as long as you only need text input fields) which includes title attributes, label tags, and all in XHTML format. What are you waiting for? Bookmark the Accessible Form Builder today.
December 11, 2002
The National Library for the Blind (NLB) has announced the winners of its first Visionary Design Awards. The award is aimed at celebrating good practice in accessible website design.
The Visionary Design Awards are the culmination of a campaign by the NLB to encourage website designers, publishers and owners to provide sites that are accessible to visually impaired people. The six award winners, chosen from a short-list of twenty one sites, are as follows:
December 10, 2002
New converter tool added
Not exactly an accessibility tool, but you may find Quick Escape useful as a web developer. Converts HTML to escaped characters suitable for pasting into form textarea inputs. Inspiration for this came after reading the Joe Clark thing on Slashdot, in which one person wrote:
Even worse, Slashdot’s Plain Old Text mode doesn’t even let me paste that HTML in. I have to go through by hand and manually escape each and every into < and > . What’s the point of a plain text mode that doesn’t know how to escape stuff for me. I can’t just type Plain Old Text - instead I have to know all about escape codes and enter them myself?
Updates by e-mail
New feature added to Accessify today: automatic updates by e-mail. You’ll find the input for this further down the page. Give us your e-mail address and we’ll notify you whenever there is a new major update to the site. You won’t be notified about updates to this news page, only for new articles, tutorials or reviews.
Joe Clarke gets slashdotted
Joe Clark gets the Slashdot reader interview treatment. This is an extremely interesting but rather long read - Joe answers each question very thoroughly and, as usual, there is plenty of discourse following the piece itself. One of the questions to Joe was about how accessible Slashdot is. Well, he had to be polite, I guess - I have real difficulty with the many levels of commenting and I have perfect vision and motor skills.
One of my favourite comments is this:
This, of course, leads me to my perennial complaint about the Web Accessibility Initiative and accessibility advocates generally: They�ve got no style. They have no understanding of graphic design and typography, and they project this ignorance onto the rest of the world.
One of the key aims of Accessify was to show that an accessible site doesn’t have to look as dull as dishwater. Whether the site has achieved that is up to you, of course.
December 9, 2002
There is a call for papers for a journal that should prove to be very interesting. Springer International Journal: Universal Access in the Information Society is producing a special issue on Guidelines, Standards, Methods and Processes for Software Accessibility . This special issue will focus on proposing, discussing, disseminating or evaluating guidelines that address the design of accessible software (whether it is used at work, in the home, for entertainment, for education, or elsewhere in the community) that will meet the needs of people with the widest range of potential requirements.