We’re at South by South West Interactive this week with the team taking part on panels on the future of CSS, mobile, web standards in education and the Web Standards Project Annual meeting.
Chris Mills, Molly Holzschlag, Håkon Wium Lie and I are also covering the booth for the next few days doing talks and QA on HTML 5, one web, open the web, best practices in web design and education. Below is a copy of my 10 minute lightning talk on accessibility. There is also a text transcript following it.
Why bother? It costs money… It makes developers go insane… It only serves a small market… Blind people don’t browse car websites…
Screen readers are the poster child of accessibility, but that’s not even half the story.
Vision, cognition, mobility and hearing, temporary disabilities (RSI, broken wrist…even hangovers), children, mobile users and you…
No one plans on dying young right? The aging market is only going to get bigger and you are that market.
Shopping, banking, e-gov, TV, blogs, Twitter, photo sharing, IM…we all expect to be able to do this when we’re older not only via desktop but also mobile and other devices.
As Glenda Sims, co-lead of the Web Standards Project quoted Mike Smith as saying at Web Directions North “Desktop browser share is becoming less and less important…it is all about standards compliant mobile browsers”.
So how do we make accessible sites?
- HTML: text alternatives and semantic mark up
- CSS: separation of content and presentation
WCAG 2.0: technology agnostic test criteria, Section 508 (US), UK Government Guidelines, EU directives provide guidance on making sites accessible. But you must combine these with user testing as well as page validation.
Web Accessibility Initiative Accessible Rich Internet Applications makes HTML dynamic, enables sexy keyboard and screen reader accessible widgets.
WAI-ARIA is supported by Opera 9.5+, Firefox 1.5+, IE8 and Safari 4 Jaws 7.1+, WindowEyes 5.5+, NVDA, and Firevox.
Roles and states can be assigned to widgets so that these can be communicated to screen reader users.
Role I am a slider, therefore I slide
State: Feeling pretty good actually
alt="How are you doing?"
Landmark roles define areas of a web page:
<div role=\"banner\"> ... </div><div role=\"navigation\"> ...</div><div role=\"main\">... </div>
Live regions, notifies users of page updates
Updates can be assertive, polite, RUDE and so on.
You can also see how web pages look by switching on Mobile view via View > Small screen