Latest Accessibility News on Accessify


The Best Accessible
Image Replacement Method Yet?

Has Levin Alexander achieved the best
variant yet of the Fahrner Image Replacement technique? Go judge for yourself now, then comment on it in the forum. [Note this has already been mentioned in the forum, but not on this page before, so perhaps this method is new to you]

Filed under: Accessibility
Comments Off Posted by Ian on Monday, August 18, 2003


Clearing out my Closet

Apologies to anyone who has e-mailed me in the last few weeks and not had a response - I am moving from one laptop to another and there are some messages that have blackholed or have been left on the old PC with notes to follow up. So, this post is a general list of things people have informed me about that I need to post up here, in no particular order (and likely to grow in next couple of days!).

  • Birmingham Focus on Blindness - Jeremy Hurst tells us about a new site for visually impaired, developed by Slightly Different, to highlight the work of a
    Birmingham (UK) based charity in an accessible way to enable
    people with sight impairment to find out information about
    the services offered on their behalf. Jeremy tells us: "We seized this project as an opportunity of demonstrating our
    skills and abilities in the field of online accessibility.
    Rather than just talk about it, we actually put our words
    into practice as, by raising the bar, we have shown that the
    combination of design, advanced functionality and true
    accessibility is not only possible, but should be the way
    ahead for the Internet. If more people took accessibility as
    seriously as we do, the Internet would be a much better place
    for everyone."

    [update: it seems that the site is a little too over-enthusiastic, as Tom Gilder points out on his weblog. Go on over and join in the commenting fun, folks]

  • Rick Mason informs us about an Accessible Form Creator: "The HiSoftware Accessible Form Creator allows you to create forms for web sites containing all the additional markup required to make the forms accessible under Section 508 standards and the W3C WCAG 1.0 Priority 1-3 Guidelines".

    So far, I have not tried this out but it looks fully featured and probably offers everything that our own tool does, if not more (although at 5.3Mb it may be a bit large to download for dial-up users)

  • Design Idiocy at gov level? - Holly Marie tells us about a new system at The Whithouse that allows people to send mail to President Bush, but only if they’re willing to go through nine web pages: "Under a system deployed on the White House Web site for the
    first time last week, those who want to send a message to President Bush
    must now navigate as many as nine Web pages and fill out a detailed form
    that starts by asking whether the message sender supports White House
    policy or differs with it." - quoted from NYTimes article [requires subscription].
  • Westciv update course materials: Westciv released all new revised and updated editions of their widely
    acclaimed standards-based web development courses
    (back in July, sorry been sitting on that one for a while). All Westciv courses come in downloadable self paced format. Students work
    their way through guided exercises as they develop real world projects.
  • Oops: From one reader: "The popup window generator gives the following error:
    ‘Sorry - this tool does not work in Netscape 4 or Opera. The JavaScript used to dynamically create the code for pop-ups is standards-compliant. However, Netscape 4 is not standards compliant and Opera’s implementation of the Document Object Model (DOM) is very poor.’
    As far as I’m aware the latest version of Opera (7) no longer has a poor DOM implementation. Is this being unduly restrictive?". This is correct - it probably could be made to work for Opera 7, so I either need to change the error message or re-work the tool. I don’t have the time to address this right now, but rest assured that I have it on my to-do list.
Filed under: Accessibility
Comments Off Posted by Ian on Monday, August 18, 2003


An Accessibility Presentation For the People

For the People
("Bringing our world together, one voice at a time.") is
a voice chat service that’s worth checking out, not least because tomorrow they will be having a presentation by Gary Moulton from Microsoft’s accessibility division. You will need to join to take part (and hopefully there’s still time to do this, as the page reads "Most membership requests are processed within hours of their receipt, but please allow 72 hours to receive your confirmation of membership via Email before contacting us."). This is a great opportunity to ask someone from Microsoft about the issues that matter to you.

Discussion of: An Accessibility Presentation For the People

Filed under: Accessibility
Comments Off Posted by Ian on Friday, August 15, 2003


Website Compliance with the UK’s DDA - Free Seminar

Just got an email from Watchfire regarding an upcoming free on-line seminar.

We thought your might find this seminar of interest, and wanted to extend you an invitation. This is a free hour-long webinar; all you need is a phone and a browser. To register, please click below.

Website Compliance with the UK’s DDA

August 21st, 2003

2:30 PM British Summer Time (BST)

9:30 AM Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) North America

Did you know that if your website is not accessible you could be losing customers. Millions of disabled people, both in the UK and abroad, have billions of pounds to spend and they will go elsewhere if your site is inaccessible to them.

The UK Government estimates that there are 8.6 million people with some form of disability in Britain, with an estimated annual purchasing power of �40-�50 billion. By the year 2010, 40 percent of the UK population will be over 45 - the age at which the incidence of disability begins to increase significantly. However, many websites, most unwittingly, are discriminating against this large and potentially profitable group. What business can afford to ignore such an opportunity?

Companies providing services online in the UK are subject to new accessibility laws, following the publication of a Code of Practice. This Code of Practice addresses discrimination against people with disabilities in the UK and removes the uncertainty surrounding Web site accessibility.

Until now there has been ambiguity over the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, because the wording of the Act does not specifically mention Web services. The Code of Practice makes it clear, however, that any company providing services through a Web site has the same responsibilities as a company providing services any other way. And recently, the Disability Rights Commission has launched its first formal investigation in to Website accessibility.

Join Watchfire in this free seminar and learn:

  • Why accessibility has become an important issue on the web
  • What moral and legal pressures are coming to bear
  • What are the standards that apply
  • How automated tools can help - see how Watchfire has evolved the popular Bobby(tm) product.

This will be a 50-minute presentation, followed by a 10 minute Q&A session.

Register now for this free web seminar

Discussion of: Website Compliance with the UK’s DDA - Free Seminar

Filed under: Accessibility
Comments Off Posted by Accessify on Wednesday, August 13, 2003

Build it, and they will come

A new feature over at Dave Shea’s Mezzoblue, A Second Voice kicks off with an enjoyable article by disabilities rights activist Nic Steenhout entitled build it, and they will come. Good stuff…

Filed under: Accessibility
Comments Off Posted by Patrick H. Lauke on Monday, August 11, 2003

Using non-replaced IMG headings whilst keeping structural meaning

Fahrner Image Replacement and its even more accessible and semantically clean variants are certainly a huge step in the right direction when it comes to taking the separation of content and presentation almost to its very limits. However, for those who are not prepared to completely abdicate the use of the humble <img> tag for pretty headings, but who want to still maintain their documents’ structure semantically correct, here’s an intermediate solution: wrap the image in the correct heading tag.

Example: if you’re using a graphic as a heading, you could do far worse than writing it like so:

<h1><img src="blah.jpg" width="100" height="100" alt="I am a heading"></h1>

Of course this does not have the “purity” of markup of the CSS solutions, but it’s certainly better than merely sticking an <img> tag in your documents when it is more than “just an image”…and it can be used for more than just headings…

Filed under: Accessibility
Comments Off Posted by Patrick H. Lauke on Friday, August 8, 2003


Image Replacement Techniques - Update

[Digital Web logo]Folowing on from the post the other day regarding Image Replacement, Digital Web features an article by Dave Shea - In Defense of Fahrner Image Replacement.

“The number one problem is that screen readers render display: none, hiding the content which the image is meant to replace. We can�t even do so much as provide alt text to compensate. Any accessibility advocate worth their copy of JAWS would tell you something�s fishy, and they�d be right.”

Filed under: Accessibility
Comments Off Posted by Ian on Thursday, August 7, 2003


CSS Book Gets Second Edition

Congratulations to all the authors of Separating Content from Presentation whose book is to be given a re-print with revised content - and special congratulations to Dave Shea at Mezzoblue whose CSS Zen Garden will be a featured case study.

I read about this moments after explaining to someone in my place of work about how much we could do regarding style switching if our web pages were table free, using the Zen Garden as a case in point. The strange thing is I said to my colleague: "I guarantee, this will be featured in the next batch of design/markup books released as a perfect example of separating style/structure".

I’m off to buy a lottery ticket, I’m feeling lucky.

Filed under: Accessibility
Comments Off Posted by Ian on Wednesday, August 6, 2003

106016548784511362 Live! is now live, head on over and discuss anything and everything related to Web Accessibility, or use the Coffee Break forum for general chat and get to know others in the Accessibility community.

Filed under: Accessibility
Comments Off Posted by Accessify on Wednesday, August 6, 2003


Replacement Techniques - Accessible Solutions?

If you look at this site using a CSS-compliant browser, you will see a logo at the top of every page. If your browser does not support CSS, you will get a standard heading - an <h1> (as in this example, Netscape 3). The technique relies on some hacks which can fail under certain circumstances (if you have images disabled but CSS enabled, you will not see the image, nor will you see that hidden <h1> text).

Spotted at Simon Willison’s site today - some alternative ways of doing this that seem to offer a less hacky approach (they negate the need for a superfluous <span> tag), but we still have an issue if images are disabled - you don’t get the text to fall back on, and because the images are generated as background images, not inline, you have no alt attribute to rely on.

Take a look at the alternatives - but think, can you solve this last puzzle? Can you think of a way that allows this level of device independence while not causing the accessibility issue under those circumstances? Winner receives a sticky bun.

Filed under: Accessibility
Comments Off Posted by Ian on Wednesday, August 6, 2003
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