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Re: Accessibility Questions

From: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@w3.org>
Date: Wed, 26 Dec 2001 07:00:13 -0500 (EST)
To: <Kristy@pretzel.com.au>
cc: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.30.0112260634070.5266-100000@tux.w3.org>
Hi Kristy,

I will try to give my opinion on all of these questions. The final arbiter is
of course the working group that produced the guidelines -
http://www.w3.org/WAI/GL/ - rather than just my opinion.

In trying to implement the gidelines you will need to become familiar with
the information that is provided as techniques for each checkpoint - there is
a link after every checkpoint in the guidelines document to techniques
information for that checkpoint. If you can contribute more techniques,
please do so.

On Wed, 26 Dec 2001 Kristy@pretzel.com.au wrote:

  *	I have been told that menu items should be created in text however
  this is not on the checklist. Does this mean that you can have graphic menu
  items as long as you have "alt" tags?

Checkpoint 3.2 requires that text elements not be presented in images. So for
triple-A conformance you should not have pictures of words. (On the other
hand it is a good thing to associate an icon with a menu choice for those who
want it, so having one in addition to plain text is good)

an example is http://www.w3.org where the menu bar items are text, and can
have a different user style applied, can be copied and pasted, etc.

  *	What do these points in the checklist mean?

  *	Create documents that validate to published formal grammars.

An example for the next three is

Make sure that the code used in your pages is actually correct (many
authoring tools do not do this by default) and that that can be tested. For
HTML or XHTML, and CSS, you can use the W3C validator at
http://validator.w3.org or other services provided via the web or

In the example page I gave there is an icon at the bottom that lets you check
for yourself if the page is valid.

  *	Use header elements to convey document structure and use them
  according to specification.

In HTML / XHTML there are some elements which describe various levels of
heading within a page or collection of pages. the elements (if you look at
the code) are <h1> <h2> <h3> ... <h6> and they should give a rough outline of
the page. In Word document format this is done with the Outline feature, and
the Heading styles.

To check it for HTML, when you put your pages through the validator you can
select an option "Show Outline" which will present just the headings from
your page. As a rough guide, any block of text you have marked differntly
(font-size, colour) should probably be some kind of heading, and the outline
should give an idea of the relative importance of each section in a page.
Simple pages may only have a single heading - the main title of the page.
Longer documents may use all 6 levels of subheading.

You should also look at checkpoint 12.3: Divide large blocks of information
into more manageable groups where natural and appropriate,
and the techniques for it.

In the example above, you can get the outline view to check the page. Some
browsers will also do this for you.

  *	Provide keyboard shortcuts to important links (including those in
  client-side image maps), form controls, and groups of form controls.(What
  type of short cuts? Anchor tags?)

In HTML, use the accesskey attribute for important links or form controls -
especially those that are part of a navigation group that appears on multiple

in the example, the links acrtoss the top of each page (there are actually
about a dozen seperate pages that make up the specification) have accesskey
attributes. Some browsers will show these to you, or you can look at the
source code to see something like

  <a href="#Brief" accesskey="c">contents of this page</a>

  *	If search functions are provided, enable different types of searches
  for different skill levels and preferences. (What skill level and

The techniques for this checkpoint at
http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG10-CORE-TECHS/#navigation give the following:

  When providing search functionality, content developers should offer search
  mechanisms that satisfy varying skill levels and preferences. Most search
  facilities require the user to enter keywords for search terms. Users with
  spelling disabilities and users unfamiliar with the language of your site
  will have a difficult time finding what they need if the search requires
  perfect spelling. Search engines might include a spell checker, offer "best
  guess" alternatives, query-by-example searches, similarity searches, etc.

I would suggest that a navigation bar, a site index and a "site map"
are important. It is also helpful to have a text search facility.

These features are on lots of sites.


Charles McCN

  Could you please give me some examples of sites that use each of the above
  Thank you for your time.
  k r i s t y  s a c h s e
  s i t e  m a n a g e r
  .  .  .

  (08) 9218 8588
  11 brown street east perth wa 6004

Charles McCathieNevile    http://www.w3.org/People/Charles  phone: +61 409 134 136
W3C Web Accessibility Initiative     http://www.w3.org/WAI    fax: +1 617 258 5999
Location: 21 Mitchell street FOOTSCRAY Vic 3011, Australia
(or W3C INRIA, Route des Lucioles, BP 93, 06902 Sophia Antipolis Cedex, France)
Received on Wednesday, 26 December 2001 07:00:18 UTC

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