• schachin

    While I will never say anything but kudos to someone wanting to help move forward the cause of accessibility, especially in matters of alt tagging and link creation the article is a little light on the standards and resources that could help people better do this. It is not as random or as much guesswork as it sounds from here.

    I am (among other things) an accessibility compliance specialist. I have worked on sites for agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security, FEMA and the GSA.

    Though I advocate the term Universal Design instead of accessibility because using accessibility standards helps websites render correctly in all browser and mobile platforms, widen the potential user base of a website, decrease IT costs and helps with organic search. When we call it accessibility, for better or worse, many think of it as the red headed step child of website dev or the welfare of websites. (not me, please do not throw stones or flames my way, just sadly the case) So I find telling businesses how beneficial these standards are for their sites helps tremendously.

    Now to the standards. It is more than just putting different colors, the colors have to meet color blind and luminosity tests (Juicy Toolbar is excellent for this), text and links actually have color ratios they meet depending on the standard you have chosen, and alt text should only be used to describe EXACTLY the words in the image, the object or if only a decorative image not at all (never add image, photo, pic, logo etc).

    So where do you get these standards? Well forget whatever you have ever heard about 508. 508 is an American only standard that will be done away with in the near enough future. If you are going to take the time to work on accessibility use the WCAG AA standard. (There is A, AA, and AAA) This will help you make sure to reach as many people as possible w/o restrictions that prevent you from using technologies or design elements you would like.

    Now if you want to learn about how to do this, so that you are not guessing what someone with an assistive device needs read the following sites.

    One of the pioneers of accessibility – http://www.jimthatcher.com/
    WebAim which is a great site filled with much info — http://webaim.org/

    Ok hope this helps and again thank you for adding your thoughts to a much needed topic.

    PS The Justice Dept will be very likely be requiring some commercial sites become compliant at some point in the not so distant future. Just a heads up.

  • http://donrhoades.com Don Rhoades

    Very interesting, Julie

    I have used this resource for guidelines, though I’ve never had to earn an actual approval. http://bobbyapproved.com/accessibility-statement

    Here is a bit of background on Bobby Approval: http://bobbyapproved.com/accessibility-statement

  • http://www.linkfishmedia.com Julie Joyce

    Hi @schachin…thanks for your comment, and I agree that it’s definitely light on the issue in general, as I am certainly not a specialist in this field by any stretch. I mainly just want to get people thinking about this more, on a basic level, at the very least.

    It’s a fascinating area though, and one I’d love to (and plan to) dig into further. Thanks again for the info!

    And Don…thanks for those links!

  • http://www.accessibleweb.eu/ Dick Morton

    I would agree with the comments about following WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) for good practice in accessibility, although interestingly, in version 2 of these guidelines it is no longer a requirement to avoid “click here” type links, providing that the destination of the link can be found within context (e.g. info in the same paragraph or list item). I am not defending that change, just pointing it out.

    One other thing that can help visually impaired users access links is in the case of buttons or button-like objects where it is always better to make the whole button clickable rather than just the link text itself.

  • http://www.linkfishmedia.com Julie Joyce

    Hi Dick.

    Interesting about the change to no longer avoid nondescriptive links…as long as the destination can be determined. Thanks for pointing that out.

    And your point about buttons is well taken…thanks for the comment!