Gez Lemon from
recently created an
Assistive Device Behaviour Chart.
It outlines the Web standards supported by various assistive Web technology. Gez
encourages those familiar with assistive devices to
so the chart can become more comprehensive. It's already useful, but with your help it could
become an invaluable resource for Web developers!
Lots of people are talking about it, but I have to give the hat tip to
who was the first one to tell me about the upcoming release of
Macromedia's new software.
Eric Meyer (who is quoted in Macromedia's news release)
wrote about it.
Accessify.com gives an
overview of the additions to Macromedia Studio MX 2004. Below is what Christopher wrote about it:
Studio MX 2004,
new versions to their popular Web and interactive set of applications.
Included in the updated line of applications includes improved accessibility
support for their professional Web-editing software, Dreamweaver, and
vector-based interface and animation tool, Flash.
In Dreamweaver MX 2004, Cascading Style Sheets is now an integral part of
the workflow in creating Web sites makes it easier for Web developers to
create accessible sites. (When used properly, CSS can still added the visual
presentation that designers want while opening up the content to be properly
structured for screen readers and other devices.)
CSS is now at the forefront for site wide designs, instead of being
presented simply as a replacement for font tags. Gone are the days of
hunting and pecking CSS properties in an overbearing dialog box in previous
versions of Dreamweaver. Through property inspector palettes, you can easily
modify CSS properties and values or, if you are up to speed, you can modify
the raw CSS directly.
In Flash MX 2004, Macromedia has added an extension layer to their popular
tool making it possible for third-party companies to provide plugins for the
application. Macromedia announced that HiSoftware
will provide a captioning software tool for Flash, which has been a failing
in the tool thus far.
Need to find out if a
visually-impaired person can really use the site
you worked so hard to make "accessible"? The
Yahoo Group uvip-web-test
was created to achieve this goal. It's by subscription only, and I just subscribed,
(membership still pending). I'm eager to find out how useful this
email list is. Abstract accessibility standards aren't enough.
Developers and designers focused on Web accessibility need to connect with real users who
are affected by accessibility issues. I hope this email list will help to do that.
British government recently released the
Quality Framework for UK Government Website Design guidelines (PDF)
that contains advice about improving Web site usability and accessibility. In the wake of its release, several
articles remind us that
there may not be enough funds available
to ensure existing (and future) sites will
comply with the government's recently released recommendations
other (disability) laws.
Unfortunately, the costs to comply may be too great for some government entities to absorb.
UK airlines Web sites fail to meet minimum accessibility standards.
evaluated nine airlines' Web sites.
Their report (PDF format) focused on how accessible
the sites would be to visually impaired users, dyslexic users, or users who have
difficulty using a mouse. Not only do these inaccessible sites drive away potential
customers, they also risk being sued under the
UK Disability Discrimination Act. Let this serve as another reminder that
accessibility makes good business sense.
The second annual U.S.
Congressional Web Accessibility Day was
July 22, 2003. While some Congressional Web sites are more accessible today than they were
in the past, Congress is not required to comply with
Some accessibility advocates and members of Congress are trying to change that.
Representative Jim Langevin, (Democrat from Rhode Island), drafted legislation to
expand coverage of Section 508. It'll be interesting to see if the legislation can
gather the money and support it needs to effect a real change.