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March Weblog

March 31, 2004

Improving web accessibility: a study of webmaster perceptions (PDF format) is an excellent study that recently appeared in the Computers in Human Behavior journal 20 (2004) 269-288. The authors, (Jonathan Lazar, Alfreda Dudley-Sponaugle, and Kish-Dawn Greenidge), surveyed 175 webmasters to find out why webmasters do or don't create accessible sites. Specifically, the authors analyzed:

This was a great read. Below is my favorite excerpt (from the conclusion):

Given that tools and guidelines are available to help in building accessible web sites, and given that public policy generally supports web accessibility, it is surprising that so many web sites are inaccessible... Most webmasters that responded to the survey supported the concept of web accessibility, but cited roadblocks to accessibility such as lack of time, lack of training, lack of managerial support, lack of client support, inadequate software tools, and confusing accessibility guidelines. However, there were some webmasters that outright objected to the idea that web sites should be accessible, did not like the interference in "their" web design, and would only make web sites accessible if the government forced them to.

March 23, 2004

Here are highlights from recent accessibility news...

The W3C's Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines Working Group released the second version of the Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 working draft.

Joe Clark's suggestion of a CSS 'Reader' Media Type was released as a working draft. Send your comments about the draft to the W3C's CSS mailing list.

Apple announced that they're developing a Spoken Interface (screen reader) for their Mac OS X operating system. It will be integrated into the next major release of the operating system. Apple is already recruiting users to test a preview version of Spoken Interface.

March 19, 2004

I recently returned from the South by Southwest Interactive conference. I spoke on the Accessing Multimedia: The Object of My Perception panel on Sunday, March 14, 2004. My presentation covered multimedia and handheld mobile devices. The overarching theme was how to author for alternative software and devices. Many thanks to Hugh Forrest and Sharron Rush for inviting me to speak on the panel. I hope to return again next year. I wish I could send a long-distance hug to all of the awesome people I ran into at SXSWi. It was great to meet new folks and see old friends. I have always been overwhelmed and inspired by the energy, enthusiasm, humor, and hope of my fellow SXSWi attendees.