Latest Accessibility News on Accessify

The accessibility of segregation

Trenton Moss tackles “text-only” websites head on with his newest article titled “Manchester United: top of the web accessibility league?“. Man Utd have won awards and praise for their accessible version of their websites - it is excellent to see a well recognised public company taking accessibility seriously enough to make an investment like this. But is creating two separate websites - one accessible the other highly graphical - the best approach?

I agree with Trenton’s position that the two website approach to accessibility isn’t within the spirit and meaning of accessibility. Accessibility is about equality as well as inclusiveness. We need to include people with disabilities into the audience for our sites - not give them their own separate website. Keeping the content of both sites synchronised is a management nightmare, and as we have seen with other websites, the accessible website quickly falls behind, and its audience relegated to being less equal than their fully-abled counterparts.

I grew up in South Africa (Uitenhage) during the early eighties - at the height of the Apartheid regime of the country. Apartheid was initially established as a solution for equality without prejudice - equality through separation. Separate education, separate communities, separate medical facilities, separate justice system, separate political representation - all based on race. A social solution that quickly became a social nightmare, one that oppressed millions of people. One of the biggest factors in the continuing oppression was the distinct lack of - or disregard of - knowledge as to what was happening on the “other side of the fence”. Seperation gives us an excuse to forget.

The parallels between disability segregation and Apartheid are frightening, it is not an allusion I like thinking about. Let us not go down the road of segregation as a solution to meeting the needs of disabled people on websites. Segregation is not a solution.

From Trenton’s excellent article, I will however criticise just one point. He pleads with Manchester United to scrap the two website system and make the main richly-tailored website accessible. I say take the accessible website, and enhance the look of that to bring it closer to the richness of the current version. Good strong buildings need good strong foundations, and an accessible foundation delivers benefits to a non-disabled audience too.

Mike Davies (Isofarro)

Filed under: Accessibility
Comments Off Posted by Accessify on Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Keyboard usage, kids and a business case

An interesting article by Derek Featherstone on Contradictions in Accessibility - Keyboard Usage and Tabindex. Also worth reading, is his quirky post I realize that in some ways children are just like some form of temporary impairment

Also, a quick bullet-point article by Trenton Moss on Benefits of an accessible website - part 2: The business case

Filed under: Accessibility
Comments Off Posted by Accessify on Sunday, June 20, 2004

Dynamically underlining accesskeys

Richard Rutter has written an interesting article on Dynamically underlining accesskeys using the DOM to automatically underline the letter of a link text which matches its accesskey.

Filed under: Accessibility
Comments Off Posted by Accessify on Friday, June 18, 2004

Government Department To Open Its Website To Non Computer Users

The website of the UK Department for Culture, Media and Sport has been made available by telephone to people without access to a computer. The DCMS claims to be the first Government department to do so.

Culture secretary, Tessa Jowell, said that “the blind and partially-sighted will benefit too. Only one in ten of this group are computer users so a huge number will now be able to access information about what we are up to, and how we spend the public funding we receive.”

Is telephone access a better alternative to assistance software for accessing Web sites? Discuss the Accessify forum.

Filed under: Accessibility
Comments Off Posted by Accessify on Friday, June 18, 2004

On the ball

Football fever is upon Europe again and here is accessible version of the official Euro 2004 site. You might want to compare it to the regular version of the Euro 2004 site.

What are your thoughts? Is it as effective as a Beckham cross, or as big a faux pas as a Gerrard pass. Say what you think in the Accessify Forums

<sheepish whisper>C’mon Spain</sheepish whisper>

Filed under: Accessibility
Comments Off Posted by Accessify on Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Accessible Forms in HTML & XHTML

Between hugging wombats and dressing up as Dragon claw, monkey foot Emperor, Ian has somehow managed to write an excellent article on creating accessible web page forms. You’ll learn the benefits of the fieldset element, the common accessibility pratfalls of Javascript-enabled forms, and other handy tips. So choose a section — beginner, intermediate, or advanced — and read on.

Filed under: Accessibility
Comments Off Posted by Accessify on Saturday, June 12, 2004

The accessible search

Touting itself as a search engine designed to be fully accessible to all users, YouSearched does indeed seem to practice what it preaches. Emphasizing the importance of universal access, YouSearched maintains they’ve created a truly accessible search experience — succeeding, they claim, where competing search engines have long failed. From the press release announcing their launch:

[I]ndividuals using the Internet who are disabled, who are blind, who have difficulties distinguishing colours, have low vision, suffer tremors, or varying degrees of paralysis, and others living with disabilities, are as important as any other user, says YouSearched.Com founder Khalid Karrar. Without meaning to, all other search engines present roadblocks for people with disabilities.

Sounds promising, to say the least. Feel free to browse through their accessibility statement, and provide feedback on how well they measure up to it.

Filed under: Accessibility
Comments Off Posted by Accessify on Wednesday, June 9, 2004

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Plans for Accessify

As regular visitors to this site will have noticed, there has been less activity from me
of late. Long-term visitors will probably know that there is a reason for this,
namely the fact that I’ve been on my travels. I’ve not forgotten about the site
- it’s just been difficult to be hands-on. However, I’ve doing things behind
the scenes that I wanted to mention.

The site has always been built using Active Server Pages (ASP), a handy little
language (in that I know how to script with it!) that has become a major problem
for me now that I am a Mac user. With no easy (or fast) access to a development
environment, updating articles, tools or anything else - while travelling -
is a non-starter. I have, therefore, begun work on converting the site from
ASP to PHP and with that will come a complete visual re-working, a change in
the site structure and more. In short, it’s gonna be built from the ground up
all over again so that I can get some control back of the site.

Tools & Wizards

Trashing everything and rebuilding again will take me some time, and I have
no deadline. However, the one section that is likely to slow down the delivery
of the new site is the Tools and Wizards section. Repurposing content is one
thing, but the tools are primarily built using ASP and may take many hours of
head-scratching for me. So, this is where the public appeal comes in …

If you are a PHP programmer and would be able to help in any way with the conversion
of the tools, please drop me a line using
the contact-us page
. I can’t offer you anything in return for helping, other
than a link back to say thanks. If those terms are good for you, though, I’d
be happy to send you the ASP source code to see what you can do with it. I’m
not trying to shirk responsibilities, just accepting that I am a relative PHP
novice and am trying to save some time.

New Articles/Features

I’m keen to hear from anyone who has an article they’d like to publish on Accessify.
This does not necessarily have to wait until this site is redesigned. Although
it’s not easy for me to get articles published, it’s not impossible
- it may just take me a couple of weeks!

  • Do you have some news you want announced on Accessify?
  • Have an article you’d like to publish?
  • Perhaps you have ideas about what Accessify should be, what it can do for
    you?

Whatever your thoughts or ideas, please feel free to let meknow - just use
the contact form and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.

Filed under: Accessibility
Comments Off Posted by Ian on Tuesday, June 8, 2004

WCAG and the Myth of Accessibility

Kevin Leitch has written an interesting article over at Juice Studio, stating that ‘accessibility is little more than a myth’.

Filed under: Accessibility
Comments Off Posted by Accessify on Sunday, June 6, 2004

Web Accessibility Best Practices Evaluation Training - Paris, 6 July 2004

The W3C Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) is holding a full day Web Accessibility Best Practices Exchange Training on 6 July 2004 in Paris, France, as part of the WAI-TIES Project (WAI - Training, Implementation, Education, Support). The training precedes the ICCHP 2004 conference; the facility is provided by Université Pierre et Marie Curie and additional logistical help is provided by BrailleNet.

Participation is open to anyone interested in Web development. The event is specifically designed for experienced Web developers with basic knowledge of Web accessibility. There is no registration fee; however, pre-registration is required.

See the Education and Outreach Working Group’s event page for further details.

Filed under: Accessibility
Comments Off Posted by Patrick H. Lauke on Saturday, June 5, 2004
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