October 22, 2009 AccessibleWeb@U meeting notes, prepared by Rick Ells
Following the morning's presentation by the Content Management System Working Group at the Web Council meeting, it seemed appropriate for the topic of today's AccessibleWeb@U meeting to be a quick assessment of the accessibility of UW sites discussed in the presentation.
Evaluations were done with the FireFox browser equipped with the Web Developer Tools add-on (WDT). In addition, the UW HTML Tidy Web Interface and the Paciello Color Contrast Analyzer were available.
|Criteria||Explanation||Procedure (most involve using Web Developer tools)|
|Presence of Skip to Content or similar method||Help non visual or mouse only visitor get directly to page content||By tabbing and by inspection of page HTML|
|Use of semantic heirarchical headings to identify page topic, subtopics, subsubtopics, etc.||Voice browsers often can use headings to navigate page||WDT: "Outline -> Outline Headings" and "Information -> Display Element Information"|
|Linearization,. does sequence of page content make sense to a person encountering the content linearly?||When using a voice browser or navigating a page without a mouse, the sequence in which content will be encountered can determine whether the page is usable.||WDT: "CSS -> Disable All Styles" Turn off CSS and evaluate what displays|
|Use of semantic markup to enable more meaningful interpretation of content||Semantic element types (paragraph, heading, list, etc.) can be used to better present and navigate through the content.||Visual inspection of content HTML. WDT: "View Source"|
|Keyboard navigable - Can you effectively navigate the page content without using the mouse||A person with limited dexterity or poor (or no) vision will not be able to use the mouse. Can they still use the site?||Set aside the mouse and try to navigate through site content just using the tab, arrows and space keys|
|Focus highlighting to make it apparent which element has focus is on the screen||A person navigating without a mouse has to tab to the link they want. Without focus highlighting, knowing where the focus is can be difficult.||Tab through the pages trying to identify where the focus is|
|Menu functionality without using mouse||Menus that require use of the mouse to select are unusable by people who have vision limitations or dexterity problems||Attempt to navigate menus using tabs, arrow keys, and cursor|
|Validated HTML||Syntax errors in HTML can produce unpredictable behaviors in assistive and adaptive technologies, not to mention CSS and scripts||Process page with a validator or HTML Tidy|
|Alternative text associated with graphics, particularly when graphics are used as buttons||Alternative text is displayed or read when the graphic itself cannot be displayed or seen. Purely decorative images can have empty ALT attributes (alt="")||WDT: "Images -> Display Alt Attributes"|
|ALT Text and Visible text congruence||Voice controlled browing is becoming common. If the text on a graphical object (for example, "Contribute Today") is different from the ALT text for the object ("Give by Friday") the user has no way to go directly to that object.||WDT: "Image -> Display Alt Attributes" and compare text in the graphic to ALT text|
|Contrast of color combinations||Contrast between text and background should be at least 4:1 for it to be readable by most people. A higher contrast is even better||Evaluate with the Color Contrast Analyzer|
At our October 22 meeting we visited seven Web sites mentioned in the panel presentation, walking through the above criteria with each. The sites visited were the following:
The critiques below relate to specific implementations done on the CMS systems, not necessarily to the CMSs themselves. Most CMSs offer many themes, skins, CSS stylesheets, and templates that have widely varying degrees of accessibility. All of these sites reflect a large amount of careful, professional work, often done under considerable time pressure, and we have deep respect for their work. The goal here is to highlight the issues in selecting among all those alternatives for your CMS.