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Re: Accessibility features

From: David Woolley <david@djwhome.demon.co.uk>
Date: Sat, 28 Jan 2006 15:03:19 +0000 (GMT)
Message-Id: <200601281503.k0SF3JJ01942@djwhome.demon.co.uk>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org

> *  Page footer links to help navigate 

This is indicative of the general tone of this list.  The page footer is where
designers put all the things that they are obliged to include, but would rather
not (e.g. copyright notices, site map link, webmaster address, etc.), and they
generally do so in the smallest font that they can get away with, and,
increasingly, with very low colour contrasts.  You would have to insist that
they are in no smaller a font than the essential main text and have maximal
contrast.

Basically, I think this is a list of features to achieve minimum technical
compliance with accessiblity requirements, rather than something aimed at
real accessiblity.
 
> *  ALT text for icons 

ALT text is not optional in HTML, although it can, and in many cases, should
be an empty string.  (Although I'd agree that many empty string cases 
constitute styling and, as soon as browsers have good enough support, should
be moved out of the HTML entirely.)

> *  Bubble text for icons and some links 

I made the same assumption that this means using title attributes so that
the majority of GUI browser (but not all visual browsers, will show "tooltips".

> *  Invisible skip links specifically for screen readers to jump to main
> content 

The general feeling is that skip links should not be invisible.  Even if they
are made invisible, it is important to consider that much assistive technology
actual presents the visual version of the page.

> *  Back to top links which allow the user to jump back to start of main
> content 

I thought these were out of fashion, because they cause a push of the history
stack.

> *  Site Map that helps users understand the information architecture at
> a glance 

This is often a usability feature, because it is often difficult to deduce
the navigation paradigm for a site.

> *  Increase text size using the view pulldown menu found in Internet
> Explorer Web Browser 

If this means relative font sizes only, I think it is right, but it makes
me feel uneasy, as this tends to appear as the accessibility guidance on
pages that try to avoid accessibilty fixups by just having instructions on
how to use IE accessibility features on the accessibilty tab.

> *  Access keys for navigation links: Site Map = ALT+2, Help = ALT+H, and
> ALT+3 = Exit"

The consensus that is building is that access keys in their current form are
unusable outside of a constrained intranet environment.
Received on Saturday, 28 January 2006 15:03:24 GMT

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