Me and a friend were invited by Eric Velleman from Stichting Accessibility, a Dutch accessibility platform based at Bartim�us. For about an hour and a half we have discussed accessibility issues and a saw how software and hardware (for braille) works.
Some information was new for me, I never really thought about reasons to include the type of graphic (until yesterday, I told everyone it shouldn’t be done that way). It seems that adding a prefix or explaining in the alternate text what kind of graphic it is, like: “Picture: Our garden in the summer” is important for blind people. That way they don’t miss that aspect of the site. I always thought that such information was redundant and could better be left out of a web page, because people are not looking for that kind of information. However, blind people appreciate that extra information so they can talk and discuss about it (who are you to decide what information is available).
Another question we had is how blind people consume enormous amounts of links (like a nice ordered lists with 60 list items). People without a sight disability can easily scan those lists, but if such information was spoken it would take a long time (and it will be hard to focus), we thought. Eric told us that blind people use the build in search future of browsers quite a lot to find the information they need in a small amount of time.
Overall it is quite easy to create an accessible site, today’s software is good. Stick to the standards, use
ALT on the
IMG element correct and visit the site with Lynx, you will be fine.
(We also asked about WCAG 2.0, he told us we have to wait until the end of 2005 before that specification becomes a recommendation.)