I use clean HTML because it makes websites that work. I’m vegetarian because I like animals. My favorite alcoholic drinks consist of just two ingredients in equal parts, because they’re easy to remember. These definitions of accessibility are fantastic, but I think it’s time we broaden our collective understanding to include a few other real-world practices that we, the web community, are already engaged in.
I think web accessibility can be more simply described as the practice of making content available to people and machines. Maybe there’s a few words that could be added or removed, but that’s where my general sentiments currently sit. Or, maybe we even need a new term to describe this, like “Content Availability” or something similarly fancy.
Print style sheets are useful and sometimes even necessary. Some readers might want to store your information locally as a well-formatted PDF to refer to the information later on, when they don’t have an Internet connection. However, print styles are often forgotten in the age of responsive Web design. The good news is that a print style sheet is actually very easy to craft: you can follow a couple of simple CSS techniques to create a good experience for readers and show them that you’ve gone the extra mile to deliver just a slightly better user experience.
When creating interfaces you often come to a point where you need to decide what your priorities are. The most obvious choice is to cater to the needs of the user. Unfortunately when doing online business sometimes this is not easy to achieve due to certain restrictions. It then becomes an economic choice.
To simplify the problem let’s say you’re designing an interface for a contact form. There are a lot of people involved in the problem and they all have their own issues they want resolved.
In its current version, Google Accessible Search looks at a number of signals by examining the HTML markup found on a web page. It tends to favor pages that degrade gracefully–that is, pages with few visual distractions, and pages that are likely to render well with images turned off. Google Accessible Search is built on Google Co-op’s technology, which improves search results based on specialized interests.
I’m trying to store the session state in the address bar to allow bookmarking. What can be changed in the URL that won’t trigger a page reload? The hash portion. So what I need to do is add my AJAX application’s parameters after a #.
There is an additional benefit to this approach: When you click on page anchors, these points are added to the browser’s history object so that when you press the back button you’re taken back to these points within the same page. That’s important because items are being added to the history without leaving the current page.
There are millions of things one can do wrong with a Web site. There’s invalid markup, blatant spelling errors, horribly distracting animations, senseless navigation, the overuse of objects that require plug-ins like Flash or Java applets, the use of proprietary, client-specific technology, over-design, under-design, and illegibility, to name a few. All of these things bug me as much as any other developer who’s paying attention. But there’s one particular thing that gets under me on a deeper level, probably because so many site producers who actually care about their users succeed at avoiding those pitfalls but often fall into this one, which is just as much a disservice to the user and the Web at large as the others: using the words “click here” in a text link.