ISBN-10:
0201774224
ISBN-13:
9780201774221
Pub. Date:
09/28/2002
Publisher:
Addison-Wesley
Maximum Accessibility: Making Your Web Site More Usable for Everyone

Maximum Accessibility: Making Your Web Site More Usable for Everyone

by John M. Slatin Ph.D., Sharron Rush

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780201774221
Publisher: Addison-Wesley
Publication date: 09/28/2002
Pages: 588
Product dimensions: 7.30(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author

John M. Slatin, Ph.D., is a leader in the field of Web accessibility. He is a professor at the University of Texas at Austin, where he founded and directs the Institute for Technology and Learning. He developed the award-winning AccessFirst Design Concept and the AccessFirst Design and Usability Studio, a consultancy that advises organizations on the accessibility of Web sites to people with disabilities.

Sharron Rush is the cofounder and Executive Director of Knowbility, a nonprofit technology education and advocacy group. Since 1998, she has produced Accessibility Internet Rallies (AIR) throughout the U.S., engaging hundreds of Web developers and their companies in accessibility issues and providing them with accessible design skills. The Peter F. Drucker Foundation, the U.S. Department of Labor, and numerous others have recognized these efforts for excellence and innovation.

0201774224AB08282002

Read an Excerpt

Maximum Accessibility tells you how to make the World Wide Web more accessible and more usable for everyone, including over 600 million people around the world who have disabilities. That includes 54 million Americans (almost 6 million of whom are children) and 37 million people in Europe Bureau of the Census 1997; United Nations 2000. We've written Maximum Accessibility for Web designers, developers, and programmers who create complex, data-driven Web applications; full-time Web masters; folks who manage their departmental Web sites with one hand and do full-time jobs with the other; production managers; people who commission the creation of Web resources for their organizations; people who provide community services in community technology centers, nonprofit agencies, and health care facilities; teachers who want to help students learn and get parents involved in their children's education; and, finally, anyone who's interested in creating Web sites that can reach lots of people, showing others how to do it, and helping them understand why.

We assume that you're involved in some way in creating Web pages. This involvement can take many forms, from creating a personal Web site to building huge sites for Fortune 500 companies to posting occasional updates to a small site for your department or a community organization you belong to. Perhaps you train Web developers or include a unit on Web authoring in a course you teach. If you know something about HTML, the underlying language of the Web, you'll appreciate our discussions of the way some pages work (or where they break down). But if HTML isn't your cup of tea, you'll still find plenty to interest you in the examples we've selected and in our explanations of how different aspects of Web design affect people who have disabilities. If you're familiar with disability issues and have been searching for ways to persuade colleagues, managers, or service providers to address the accessibility concerns you've raised, we think you'll find helpful material in this book. If disability is a new topic for you, Maximum Accessibility is a good place to start.

Maximum Accessibility is divided into two sections. In Section 1 we answer the question, "What is accessibility and why does it matter?" Here you'll find four chapters that provide a good working definition of accessibility and discuss relevant issues of law and policy, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act. You'll learn about the World Wide Web Consortium's Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0 and the Section 508 federal standards and how they apply. You'll also learn how accessibility awareness can have a positive impact in your community. And you'll get the information you need to make a strong business case for accessibility to members in your own organization and to your customers.

Interspersed among these chapters are four "user experience" chapters that offer detailed case studies, in readable narrative form, to demonstrate how inadvertent accessibility barriers on major Web sites affect the ability of people with disabilities to successfully locate information, explore our rich cultural heritage, and participate in e-commerce. You'll learn how specific features make access harder—and how other features can help. You'll see the accessibility guidelines and standards as they apply to real people using real Web sites.

In Section 2 of Maximum Accessibility, we show you how to use those same guidelines and standards to anticipate accessibility challenges and turn them into good design solutions—solutions that work for all your users. You'll learn about combining multiple approaches (and multiple media!) to create rich, equivalent alternatives for the content on your Web site. We'll show you how to write effective text equivalents for audio files and images and how to caption the soundtracks and describe the action of videos and animations so that people who aren't in a position to hear or see what's happening on the screen can still follow the important points of what's being said and done. You'll learn how to set up data and layout tables that make sense to the ear and the eye, so people listening to your Web site or looking at it on a text-only display will be able to find the information they need and understand what it means. You'll learn how to design Web forms that people can interact with via the keyboard (or any assistive technology device that translates user input into keystrokes—including voice recognition), and you'll learn how to label your forms so that people who use talking browsers know what information they need to give you. You'll learn what you need to do to make scripts accessible to people who don't use a mouse, and how to decide which multimedia player is best for your purposes and your audience. You'll learn how you can create simple PDF files that are accessible to people with disabilities. And you'll learn how to use Cascading Style Sheets to make your pages look great and be accessible!

If you're new to accessibility, we suggest that you start with Section 1 to learn about what accessibility is and why it's important. If you're a Web developer, you may want to read the user experience chapters before moving on to the how-to chapters in Section 2. (We've even provided a handy chart to show you which accessibility guidelines and standards are covered in each chapter, so if you're interested in specific issues, use the chart to follow up.) Managers and others who commission Web sites may want to pay special attention to the chapters on accessibility in law and policy and on the business case for accessibility. Those who teach Web authoring will find the detailed examples and explanations throughout the book especially useful.

Maximum Accessibility has many features to help you learn what you need to know. It offers

  • In-depth coverage of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0 and the Section 508 federal accessibility standards for the Internet.
  • Information on building a strong business case for accessibility.
  • Detailed user experience narratives that bring accessibility barriers to life.
  • Best practices in accessible design.
  • Screen shots, screen-reader transcripts, and code examples that provide in-depth understanding.
  • How-to chapters that demonstrate the process of thinking through design problems with accessibility in mind.
  • Up-to-date information about assistive technologies and design techniques.

After reading this book, you'll become a more valuable resource to colleagues in your organization and to your community. You'll have up-to-date knowledge of accessibility guidelines and standards and how they apply to your situation. You'll be able to solve accessibility problems—before users with disabilities point them out! You'll know how to write accessibility into requirements documents, requests for quotes, and contracts. Your Web sites will provide more satisfying experiences for more people. And you'll gain insight into one of the most interesting and challenging issues of our time: how to enable people with disabilities to participate fully in and contribute to society.

0201774224P08282002

Table of Contents

Foreword.

Preface.

Acknowledgments.

A Word about Screen Readers.

SECTION 1: ACCESSIBILITY AND WHY IT MATTERS.

1. Introduction.

What Is Web Accessibility?

Accessibility Guidelines and Standards.

Beyond Compliance.

Accessibility Is an Aspect of the User Experience.

Accessibility Is Environmental.

The Scale of the Problem.

Accessibility from the Developer's Point of View: You Can Make a Difference.

Accessibility Guidelines and Standards Are Resources for Design.

Good Design Is Accessible Design.

Overview of Maximum Accessibility.

Why Are So Many Sites Inaccessible?

Beyond the Standards, Beyond the Tools: The Human Element.

2. User Experience: Born to Shop.

Adventures in E-commerce.

HTML Elements and Attributes Addressed in This Chapter.

Accessibility Checkpoints and Standards Addressed in This Chapter.

User Experience Narrative: Listening to Amazon.com.

Closing the Sale.

3. Accessibility in Law and Policy.

Accessibility: It's the Law!

The Disability Rights Movement in the United States.

The Rehabilitation Act.

The Evolution of Section 504.

Educational Mandates.

An IDEA Whose Time Has Come.

Expanding Rights to Public Education.

The Evolution of Law in Changing Society.

The Americans with Disabilities Act.

Discrimination Defined and Prohibited.

The Telecommunications Act.

Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act.

The U.S. Access Board.

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.

Setting Global Standards.

The W3C's Process for Producing Recommendations.

Accessibility Is a Global Concern.

Accessibility Is Good Business in Australia.

European Union Incorporates Accessibility into eEurope Action Plan.

Canada Raises the Bar.

Policy Implementation in the United Kingdom.

Is the Internet Public Space?

Olympics Case Has International Consequences.

National Federation of the Blind Sues America Online for Access.

Who Needs Accommodation?

What Is Accessible Information Technology?

Remedies Outside of the Courts.

The Power of the Purse.

The Good ….

…And the Challenge.

Now Things Get Really Interesting.

4. Grassroots Efforts Support Maximum Accessibility.

Building Community through Technology.

Roots Rock! The Power of Grassroots Efforts.

Government Services Online.

Accessibility Efforts by the City of San Jose and Others.

Public Responsibility.

Community Technology Centers.

Addressing Access Barriers in Community Technology Centers.

The Alliance for Technology Access.

The Accessibility Internet Rally.

Support from MEAF Lays the Foundation.

Adapting AIR to Other Settings.

Where Do We Go from Here? Building National Consensus.

5. User Experience: On the Bus.

Getting There Is Half the Fun.

HTML Elements and Attributes Addressed in This Chapter.

Accessibility Checkpoints and Standards Addressed in This Chapter.

Getting Information about Getting Around Town.

The Trouble with Tables.

User Experience Narrative: Austin's Capital Metro.

Dazed and Confused.

Viewing the Source: The Route 7 Schedule for People with Visual Impairments.

We Have to Stop Meeting Like This.

Other Examples.

You'd Have to Be an Acrobat: Bus Schedules in New York City.

On Board: The Long Island Rail Road Schedule.

Problem Solving: Designing a New Bus Schedule.

Applicable Section 508 Standards.

Other Applicable WCAG 1.0 Checkpoints.

Partway Home: The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority.

Looking at a Typical Schedule: Route 12, Eastbound, Saturdays.

An Unusual Approach: Tri-Met Public Transportation for Portland, Oregon.

6. The Business Case for Accessibility.

Improve Access and Improve Return on Investment.

Accessibility Is Good Business.

Tools Created for One Group Can Serve Everyone.

Growing Markets.

Accessibility as a Component of Usability.

Selling Accessibility.

The Business Benefits of Accessibility.

Making the Case.

Accessibility Increases Employee Productivity.

Delivering Accessibility.

Catapult Systems: Building Accessibility into Your Corporate Culture.

Testing for Accessibility.

Evaluation Tools Cannot Replace Human Judgment.

Soliciting Feedback.

Including People with Disabilities in User Testing.

Can You Satisfy Everyone?

Sustaining Accessibility.

Assembling an Accessibility Team.

Developing a Plan.

Time Well spent.

7. User Experience: Museums on the Web.

Accessing Culture and History.

HTML Elements and Attributes Addressed in This Chapter.

Accessibility Checkpoints and Standards Addressed in This Chapter.

Museums in the United States.

Museums and Accessibility, Offline.

Museums and the Web.

A Whirlwind Tour of Museum Web Sites.

The Smithsonian Institution.

World Museums on the Web.

User Experience Narrative: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Automatic Refreshes and Redirects Are Accessibility Barriers.

Visiting the Collection.

Exploring the Collection.

Server-Side Image Maps Are Accessibility Barriers.

The Web Page as an Experience in Time: The Problem of Reading Order.

Text Equivalents Can Open the Doors of Perception.

8. User Experience: Text-Only Alternatives.

Text-Only: Just Say “No”.

HTML Elements and Attributes Addressed in This Chapter.

Accessibility Checkpoints and Standards Addressed in This Chapter.

Isn't Text-Only a Common Practice?

User Experience Narrative 1: The National Public Radio Site.

Listening to NPR's Home Page.

Visiting NPR's Text-Only Page.

Problems at the Source.

User Experience Narrative 2: A Return to Amazon.com.

Generating the Text-Only Version Automatically.

Amazon Access: Been There, Couldn't Do That.

Progress Report.

Amazon Access Was Not Designed for the Visually Impaired.

The Saga Continues.

Finding Solutions: Toward Maximum Accessibility.

SECTION 2: STRATEGIES AND TECHNIQUES FOR MAXIMUM ACCESSIBILITY.

9. Equivalent Alternatives.

The Prime Directive: Equivalent Alternatives for Maximum Accessibility.

HTML Elements and Attributes Addressed in This Chapter.

Accessibility Checkpoints and Standards Addressed in This Chapter.

An Alternative to Images: ALT Text.

Sample HTML for ALT Text.

Characteristics of Effective ALT Text.

When ALT Text Should Be "Silent".

Considerations of Reading Order.

When ALT Text Isn't Enough: Extended Descriptions.

An Example: The Institute for Technology and Learning.

Text Description as a Design Element.

Leon's Guidelines for Describing Works of Art.

Sight and Sound: Equivalent Alternatives for Auditory Elements.

Turning the Telescope Around: Equivalent Alternatives for Text.

10. Forms of Participation: Designing HTML Forms for Maximum Accessibility.

Interactivity and the Use of Forms.

HTML Elements and Attributes Addressed in This Chapter.

Accessibility Checkpoints and Standards Addressed in This Chapter.

Accessibility Problems and HTML Forms.

Using the Keyboard to Interact with Forms.

Working through an Example: The AIR Judging Form.

The Old Form.

Design Goals.

The New Form.

Looking Ahead.

11. Creating Accessible Tables.

The Trouble with Tables.

HTML Elements and Attributes Addressed in This Chapter.

Accessibility Checkpoints and Standards Addressed in This Chapter.

What Is a Table?

Accessibility Issues for Layout Tables.

Accessibility Issues for Data Tables.

Design Goals for Accessible Tables.

Creating a More Accessible Bus Schedule.

HTML Resources for Creating the Schedule.

HTML Techniques for Accessible Tables.

Another Look at the Bus Schedule Using the Complex Table Model.

Using Additional WCAG Checkpoints to Enhance Accessibility and Usability.

The Whole Enchilada, One More Time.

Looking Beyond HTML.

12. Toward More Accessible PDFs.

PDF: So Near and Yet So Far.

HTML Elements and Attributes Addressed in This Chapter.

Accessibility Checkpoints and Standards Addressed in This Chapter.

Providing an Accessible Plug-In.

Creating Accessible PDF Documents.

Structuring the Word Document.

Selecting the Acrobat Conversion Settings.

Converting the Word File to a PDF Document.

Experimenting with Tables in PDF.

Acrobat's Accessibility Checker.

Acrobat's Tags Palette.

Burdens of the Past: Legacy PDFs and the Challenge of Accessibility.

13. Enhancing Accessibility through Multimedia.

Put Multi- in Your Media!

HTML Elements and Attributes Addressed in This Chapter.

Accessibility Checkpoints and Standards Addressed in This Chapter.

A Real-World Example: The ATSTAR Project.

ATSTAR Accessibility Requirements.

Multimedia Expands Accessibility Options.

Choosing Delivery Modes.

Letting Users Select the Content Delivery Mode.

Providing Accessible Video.

Accessible Video Content Requires Closed Captioning.

Guidelines for Closed Captioning.

When Captioning Is Not Enough: Providing Signed Interpretation.

Captioning on the Web.

MAGpie: The Media Access Generator from NCAM.

Comparing the Popular Media Players.

More about SMIL Attributes.

Enhance User Experience with Audio Description.

Why Describe?

Differences between Audio Descriptions and Closed Captions.

Deciding What to Describe.

An Example of Audio Description: The TX2K Video.

When to Use Audio Description.

Using Transcripts as Equivalent Alternatives.

Alternatives for Stand-alone and Other Audio.

Alternative Audio Examples.

Meeting the Accessibility Challenges of Animation.

Blinking, Flashing, and Seizures.

Animated GIFs.

Animation through JavaScript.

Flash Animation.

Go Forth and Multi!

14. Accessible Use of Scripts, Applets, and Plug-ins.

Plug and Play? Not Yet.

HTML Elements and Attributes Addressed in This Chapter.

Accessibility Checkpoints and Standards Addressed in This Chapter.

Scripts.

Scripting Rollovers for Accessibility.

Alternatives to Scripts.

Look, Ma, No Scripts! (And No Images, Either).

Using the <noscript> Element.

The Olympics Committee Leaves Out Millions—Again!

Applets.

ALT Text for Java Applets.

Plug-ins.

The User Agent Accessibility Guidelines.

The Section 508 Software Applications and Operating Systems Standards.

Media Players.

Caution: Captions Are Not Text Alternatives.

RealNetworks' RealOne.

Apple's QuickTime.

Microsoft's Windows Media Player.

Macromedia's Flash.

Adobe's Acrobat Reader.

Use the Right Tool for the Job.

15. Supporting Accessibility with Cascading Style Sheets.

Stylin' for Maximum Accessibility.

HTML Elements and Attributes Addressed in This Chapter.

Accessibility Checkpoints and Standards Addressed in This Chapter.

Beneath the Visual Aspects of the Web.

Content and Structure versus Presentation and Layout.

The Advantages of Using Style Sheets.

A Different Approach to Design.

Shortcut Techniques to Avoid.

How These Shortcut Techniques Create Accessibility Barriers.

Using HTML Headings Correctly.

Beyond Headings.

Methods of Associating Style Sheets with Documents.

External Style Sheets.

Embedded Style Sheets.

Inline Style Attributes.

Using Style Sheets to Enhance Accessibility for People with Low Vision or Cognitive Disabilities.

Low Vision.

Cognitive Disabilities.

Style Sheets and Conflicting Needs.

Styling the AIR Judging Form.

Reviewing the AIR Judging Form.

Determining the Design Goals and Strategy for the New Form.

Using Font Selection and Spacing to Improve Legibility.

Using Color and Contrast to Enhance Legibility.

CSS Positioning, Reading Order, and Navigation Links.

Once More, with Feeling: Good Design Is Accessible Design.

Appendix A: Resources and Tools for Accessible Design.

Information Resources.

Validation and Repair Tools.

Authoring Tools Reported to Provide Some Support for Creating Accessible Content.

Tools for Captioning and Descriptive Video.

Appendix B: Why Is Accessibility on the Internet Important?

Appendix C: Linearized Tables.

Bibliography.

Index.

Preface

Maximum Accessibility tells you how to make the World Wide Web more accessible and more usable for everyone, including over 600 million people around the world who have disabilities. That includes 54 million Americans (almost 6 million of whom are children) and 37 million people in Europe Bureau of the Census 1997; United Nations 2000. We've written Maximum Accessibility for Web designers, developers, and programmers who create complex, data-driven Web applications; full-time Web masters; folks who manage their departmental Web sites with one hand and do full-time jobs with the other; production managers; people who commission the creation of Web resources for their organizations; people who provide community services in community technology centers, nonprofit agencies, and health care facilities; teachers who want to help students learn and get parents involved in their children's education; and, finally, anyone who's interested in creating Web sites that can reach lots of people, showing others how to do it, and helping them understand why.

We assume that you're involved in some way in creating Web pages. This involvement can take many forms, from creating a personal Web site to building huge sites for Fortune 500 companies to posting occasional updates to a small site for your department or a community organization you belong to. Perhaps you train Web developers or include a unit on Web authoring in a course you teach. If you know something about HTML, the underlying language of the Web, you'll appreciate our discussions of the way some pages work (or where they break down). But if HTML isn't your cup of tea, you'll still find plenty to interest you in the examples we've selected and in our explanations of how different aspects of Web design affect people who have disabilities. If you're familiar with disability issues and have been searching for ways to persuade colleagues, managers, or service providers to address the accessibility concerns you've raised, we think you'll find helpful material in this book. If disability is a new topic for you, Maximum Accessibility is a good place to start.

Maximum Accessibility is divided into two sections. In Section 1 we answer the question, "What is accessibility and why does it matter?" Here you'll find four chapters that provide a good working definition of accessibility and discuss relevant issues of law and policy, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act. You'll learn about the World Wide Web Consortium's Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0 and the Section 508 federal standards and how they apply. You'll also learn how accessibility awareness can have a positive impact in your community. And you'll get the information you need to make a strong business case for accessibility to members in your own organization and to your customers.

Interspersed among these chapters are four "user experience" chapters that offer detailed case studies, in readable narrative form, to demonstrate how inadvertent accessibility barriers on major Web sites affect the ability of people with disabilities to successfully locate information, explore our rich cultural heritage, and participate in e-commerce. You'll learn how specific features make access harder--and how other features can help. You'll see the accessibility guidelines and standards as they apply to real people using real Web sites.

In Section 2 of Maximum Accessibility, we show you how to use those same guidelines and standards to anticipate accessibility challenges and turn them into good design solutions--solutions that work for all your users. You'll learn about combining multiple approaches (and multiple media!) to create rich, equivalent alternatives for the content on your Web site. We'll show you how to write effective text equivalents for audio files and images and how to caption the soundtracks and describe the action of videos and animations so that people who aren't in a position to hear or see what's happening on the screen can still follow the important points of what's being said and done. You'll learn how to set up data and layout tables that make sense to the ear and the eye, so people listening to your Web site or looking at it on a text-only display will be able to find the information they need and understand what it means. You'll learn how to design Web forms that people can interact with via the keyboard (or any assistive technology device that translates user input into keystrokes--including voice recognition), and you'll learn how to label your forms so that people who use talking browsers know what information they need to give you. You'll learn what you need to do to make scripts accessible to people who don't use a mouse, and how to decide which multimedia player is best for your purposes and your audience. You'll learn how you can create simple PDF files that are accessible to people with disabilities. And you'll learn how to use Cascading Style Sheets to make your pages look great and be accessible!

If you're new to accessibility, we suggest that you start with Section 1 to learn about what accessibility is and why it's important. If you're a Web developer, you may want to read the user experience chapters before moving on to the how-to chapters in Section 2. (We've even provided a handy chart to show you which accessibility guidelines and standards are covered in each chapter, so if you're interested in specific issues, use the chart to follow up.) Managers and others who commission Web sites may want to pay special attention to the chapters on accessibility in law and policy and on the business case for accessibility. Those who teach Web authoring will find the detailed examples and explanations throughout the book especially useful.

Maximum Accessibility has many features to help you learn what you need to know. It offers

  • In-depth coverage of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0 and the Section 508 federal accessibility standards for the Internet.
  • Information on building a strong business case for accessibility.
  • Detailed user experience narratives that bring accessibility barriers to life.
  • Best practices in accessible design.
  • Screen shots, screen-reader transcripts, and code examples that provide in-depth understanding.
  • How-to chapters that demonstrate the process of thinking through design problems with accessibility in mind.
  • Up-to-date information about assistive technologies and design techniques.

After reading this book, you'll become a more valuable resource to colleagues in your organization and to your community. You'll have up-to-date knowledge of accessibility guidelines and standards and how they apply to your situation. You'll be able to solve accessibility problems--before users with disabilities point them out! You'll know how to write accessibility into requirements documents, requests for quotes, and contracts. Your Web sites will provide more satisfying experiences for more people. And you'll gain insight into one of the most interesting and challenging issues of our time: how to enable people with disabilities to participate fully in and contribute to society.

0201774224P08282002

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