May It Please The Court: Weblog of legal news and observations, including a quote of the day and daily updates

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Quote of the Day - I think he is an extremely accessible character. In Data there is no potential for cruelty. - Brent Spiner
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Is Your Blog Fully Accessible? Check Out Skye's Twelve Tips For Compliance

You may have an easy time reading this blog if you are completely abled.  If you're not, then it is apparently more difficult than I realized.  For example, I thought we complied because MIPTC features a text-only site.  While MIPTC has made a special effort to provide an Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant site, I leaned today that we still have more to do to be friendly for all.  At today's BloGher conference in San Jose, Blogger Skye Kilaen offered a presentation that many blawgs may want to consider. 

Here are some of her recommendations: 

(1)  Create a strong color contrast between the text and the background.  Black text on white background is preferred by people who have a difficult time seeing. 

(2)  Label your images.  Those who are blind and use screen readers will have the benefit of your description of the photograph.  Otherwise, they just hear just how the photograph was saved by the digital camera:  "0072806.jpg." 

(3)  Resist visual CAPTCHAs.  A CAPTCHA is that small screen of letters and numbers you have to somehow read and then input in the correct sequence to successfully leave a comment on a blog.  MIPTC banned them just last month because they were too hard to use, even for those with full eyesight. 

(4)  Move your navigation bar to the right side or add a command for a screen reader to skip to the text of your most recent post.  Otherwise, a blind person has to listen to your entire blogroll before getting to your topmost post. 

(5)  Use relative font sizes instead of point- or pixel-based fonts.  MIPTC's text-only site complies with this recommendation.

(6)  Check your widgets (your calendar, blogroll and the like) to ensure they're screen-reader friendly.  You can check your site by loading it and then hitting the Tab key to navigate it.  If you get stuck, it needs to be reworked. 

(7)  Break your post into paragraphs.  More white space makes it easier for everyone to read.  This post is a prime example.  Imagine how hard it would be to read if these paragraphs ran together as one, continuous post.

(8)  Make your link text explanatory.  For someone who's listening to your site, links labeled such as "here" "here" and "here" don't mean much.  Describing them as "See the full opinion of the court" has more meaning to describe the link.  I've been guilty of that practice, but now know to change.

(9)  Don't open new windows from links without warning people.  MIPTC gives this warning, fully disclosing the practice in the site's Primer.

(10)   Change the style of visited links.  When someone has clicked on a link, left your site and then comes back to it later, navigation to the spot where that person left is much easier to pinpoint if the previously-visited links are a different color.

(11)  Use more than color cues for links.  For people who are color blind, red and green links are indistinguishable.  Adding an underline feature makes a hyperlink easier to see.

(12)  Use punctuation.  Screen readers pause for punctuation.  Otherwise, your post is just one long monotone of words.

For more tips, you can visit Skye's sites at lizardkingdom.org, lonestardemocracy.org and heroinecontent.org.  You can get the full range of tips from Knowbility.  You can also expect some subtle changes at MIPTC over the next several months as we implement these recommendations.

Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Friday, July 28, 2006 at 18:58 Comments Closed (0) |
 
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