Latest Accessibility News on Accessify

An Accessibility Frontier: Cognitive disabilities and learning difficulties

Roger Hudson, Russ Weakley and Peter Firminger presented this comprehensive paper at the OZeWAI 2004 Conference:

The aim of this paper is to offer some ideas on how websites might more effectively meet the needs of people with cognitive disabilities and learning difficulties. The paper will look at three issues:

  • How the presentation of page content can be modified to make it more accessible.
  • Design of site navigation systems.
  • Tailoring content to the needs of different audience groups.

Read the article over at webusability

Filed under: Accessibility
Comments Off Posted by Patrick H. Lauke on Sunday, January 30, 2005

Developing sites for users with cognitive disabilities and learning difficulties

When people think about accessibility of web content, there’s a tendency to concentrate on people with visual impairments. People with cognitive impairments and learning difficulties are often overlooked.

This article by Roger Hudson, Russ Weakley, and Peter Firminger, examines the types of problems visitors may encounter when using the web, with insightful and practical suggestions on how to develop websites that are inclusive for people with cognitive impairments and learning difficulties.

Read the article over at Juicy Studio.

Filed under: Accessibility
Comments Off Posted by Patrick H. Lauke on Sunday, January 30, 2005

IBM Homepage Reader version 3.04

It’s now easier than ever to test Web site accessibility. IBM Home Page Reader 3.04 - a new version of the popular talking Web browser - has arrived. Originally created to help users who are blind or have low vision access the Internet, Home Page Reader also gives Web developers and designers the tools they need to test the accessibility and usability of Web sites.

Download it today and experiment with Home Page Reader’s new functions, including:

  • Ability to read accessible, tagged Adobe Reader 6.0 PDF documents and accessible Macromedia Flash Player 7 content.
  • Inclusion of a desktop reader with keyboard navigation and speech output for a number of Microsoft Windows applications, including the Windows desktop and selected system applications such as:
    • Help
    • Control Panel
    • Notepad
    • Media Player
    • Settings
    • Start Menu
    • Taskbar
    • Windows Explorer
    • WordPad
  • Improved features for users with low vision, including the highlighting of controls and images in the Graphics view as they are spoken and simple page magnification using either the Zoom setting within Home Page Reader or the Magnifier tool in Windows.
  • Enhancements in accordance with the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Specifications and Guidelines that can help Web developers increase accessibility of their pages
    • W3C HTML 4.01, WCAG 1.0 and UAAG 1.0
  • Provision of a Developer’s Help document that outlines helpful hints, tips and techniques for Web developers who use Home Page Reader to test their Web sites for accessibility. The document also offers suggestions for fixing accessibility flaws.
Filed under: Accessibility
Comments Off Posted by Patrick H. Lauke on Sunday, January 23, 2005

The Web Accessibility Toolbar and WCAG 1.0

This document indicates which toolbar function (if any) is helpful in assessing conformance to the WCAG 1.0 Checkpoints.

The toolbar contains many functions for examining discrete aspects of a web page’s content and code. These can be used as an aid for manual checking of many of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines’ Checkpoints. None of the toolbar functions listed will tell you whether a page conforms to a particular checkpoint, but they will help you in assessing conformance.

Filed under: Accessibility
Comments Off Posted by Patrick H. Lauke on Sunday, January 23, 2005

Accessibility, boring, bland and damn hard work? - a presentation by Jonathan Mosen

Date: Thursday 24 February, 2005
Location: Wellington New Zealand

Jonathan is blind and has in the past provided web accessibility advice to a range of Government and private agencies. He will be demonstrating how web accessibility doesn’t mean that web designers have to sacrifice innovation or creativity. He will also be demonstrating the kind of technology blind people are using today to surf the web, showing just what a difference an accessible web site can make to a blind person’s independence.

Filed under: Accessibility
Comments (2) Posted by Accessify on Friday, January 21, 2005

Matt’s Accessibility Primer

Matt May of Bestkungfu and a little group called the W3C has written an article for Digital Web called Accessibility From The Ground Up. It’s a ‘primer for the web designer’ (his words, not mine) that runs through the various things that designers need to get up to speed on. I have to agree with Matt’s comment here:

The hardest part of Web accessibility, in my opinion, is the stuff between the angle brackets. You get your content from a dozen different sources, often with a dozen different voices. Some of it, like legal text, is irreducible. Changing it even slightly could alter it dramatically, if you were even allowed to do so.

So true. Once you have a basic understanding of how to make a page accessible it becomes second nature, just something you do without thinking (a state of mind some would describe as being ‘unconsciously competent’ … yes, I’ve been on a training course!). Cutting out legal text and marketing nonsense, now there’s the real challenge!

Filed under: Accessibility
Comments Off Posted by Ian on Thursday, January 20, 2005

Guidelines for Accessible and Usable Web Sites available in HTML

The article Guidelines for Accessible and Usable Web Sites: Observing Users Who Work With Screen Readers by Mary Frances Theofanos from the US National Cancer Institute and usability consultant Janice Redish (we mentioned it back in November) is now also available in HTML format.

Filed under: Accessibility
Comments Off Posted by Patrick H. Lauke on Tuesday, January 18, 2005

RNIB urges you to write to your MP

You may be aware of net-guide, an Internet search engine designed to return only those web sites that are accessible to disabled web users.

Net Guide is produced by Internet consultancy Net Progress. Having received positive feedback from disabled web users, Net Progress has decided to lend even greater support to RNIB’s Campaign for Good Web Design.

Paul Crichton of Net Progress wrote to his Member of Parliament, Liberal Democrat Tom Brake MP, to seek his support for the Campaign. Tom Brake’s response was to table a parliamentary Early Day Motion (EDM) to canvass support for web accessibility across Parliament.

An Early Day Motion (EDM) is a petition that MPs can sign. EDMs allow MPs to put on record their opinion on a subject and canvass support for it from fellow MPs.

A complete database of EDMs is available on the web at There you can read the current list of EDMs and find out which MPs have signed them.

Every EDM has a unique title and number. The EDM on web accessibility tabled by Tom brake MP is entitled ‘net-guide RNIB Accreditation’. It is EDM number 461.


The last point in the EDM is the crucial one: “That this House… calls on web designers to take on the board the practical advice offered by RNIB for producing websites which meet the information needs of the blind and partially sighted, a requirement enshrined in Section 21 of the Disability Discrimination Act 1999.”

For this to become a reality the Government must be encouraged to back initiatives that alert businesses, large and small, to the vital importance of accessible web design.

For the EDM to have maximum effect it needs support from as many MPs as possible, and this is where you come in.

RNIB and Net Progress are asking you to send a letter to your MP asking him or her to lend their support by signing the EDM and by writing to the appropriate Department of Trade and Industry Minister.

See the complete request from Julie Howell over at the Accessify Forum.

Filed under: Accessibility
Comments Off Posted by Patrick H. Lauke on Friday, January 14, 2005

Nominations Wanted For Web Accessibility Awards 2005

The Jodi Mattes Web Accessibility Awards were established in 2003, European Year of Disabled People, to celebrate the most accessible museum, gallery and heritage website. This year sees the awards opening to nominations from libraries and archives too.

The Awards will be for a museum, gallery, library, archive or heritage website which demonstrates active commitment to meeting web accessibility standards, involves users and develops practical and imaginative ways of making cultural and learning resources accessible to disabled people. The Awards are for websites developed in England.

The closing date for nominations is Friday 11 March 2005. Further information and nomination forms are available on the MLA website - paradoxically, only in Word and PDF.

Filed under: Accessibility
Comments (1) Posted by Patrick H. Lauke on Thursday, January 13, 2005

Call for Review: Last Call Working Draft of Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines 2.0

The Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 (ATAG 2.0) has reached Last Call Working Draft status. It will be under review until 18 January 2005.

What is ATAG 2.0?

Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 (ATAG 2.0) is part of a series of accessibility guidelines published by the W3C Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI). The other guidelines in this series include the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) and the User Agent Accessibility Guidelines (UAAG).

ATAG 2.0 provides guidelines for designing authoring tools that lower barriers to Web accessibility for people with disabilities. An authoring tool that conforms to these guidelines will promote accessibility by providing an accessible authoring interface to authors with disabilities, as well as enabling, supporting, and promoting the production of accessible Web content by all authors.

See Judy Brewer’s reminder on the W3C WAI IG email list, which contains information on how to comment on the working draft.

Filed under: Accessibility
Comments Off Posted by Patrick H. Lauke on Thursday, January 13, 2005
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