Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Session 2 at Accessibility Summit - Web Accessibility

The second session offered by Accessibility Summit 2011, was about website accessibility. The presenter was Jared W. Smith (@Jared_w_smith). Check out his site at webaim.org.

Here are the notes about this session:

- Accessibility is process that is continuous - always can do more
- If your site is accessible, your not being innovative or updating your site enough!
- Provide a good experience for your users and readers of your site
- Accessible site certification - http://webaim.org/services/certification/
- WCAG 2.0 - principles, guidelines (ex. keyboard accessible), success criteria
- compliance does not equal accessibility - use as a set of guidelines
- Your site can be fully compliant with the guideline, but can still be functionally inaccessible
- WCAG 2.0 - great guidelines for web accessibility - http://www.w3.org/WAI/intro/wcag

Rule 1 - Equivalent alternative text
- can’t measure equivalence with a formula or tool
- does not mean exactly equal, does mean about the same or similar text

Rule 2 - Bypass Blocks

- bypass blocks of content that are replicated on several or multiple web pages
- test this out by: navigate with keyboard or listen to it in a screen reader
- "Skip to main content" links are useful and helpful, because browsers have yet to provide better keyboard navigation for users or readers who are sighted
- use common sense when using a text and background (use sensible contrast with colors)

Solutions to help with web accessibility:
- Learn about AT
- Learn about individuals with disabilities who utilize the web
- Use but do not rely on automated tools - WAVE - http://wave.webaim.org/
- Focus on the user’s experience
- Plan for progress
- become an accessibility champion - advocate for accessibility
- use common sense and guidelines
- prioritize the failures or the needs of improvement - what has the most impact on the user?
- Web pages need to be readable and functional when text is re-sized to 200%
- Images of text - text is used to give information rather than images.
- Test your site with a screen reader to avoid “screen reader freak out”

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