|Maximum Accessibility: Making Your Web Site More Usable for Everyone|
By John M. Slatin,, Sharron Rush
|Table of Contents|
| Appendix A. Resources and Tools for Accessible Design |
Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI), at http://www.w3.org/wai. A major activity of the World Wide Web Consortium, the WAI is a broad collaboration among industry, academic research, and members of the disability community to define standards and techniques for maximizing the accessibility of Web-based materials for all users.
WAI Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (including checklist and techniques documents), at http://www.w3.org/tr/wcag10. These Guidelines are the closest thing to a universally accepted standard for accessible Web content (though this position may be challenged by the U.S. government's Section 508 standards; see below). (Note: the WAI site also includes useful information about use of color, etc.)
Section 508 Final Standards, at http://www.section508.gov/index.cfm?FuseAction=Content&ID=12.htm#Web. These standards became effective on June 21, 2001, and govern IT accessibility for all federal agencies and entities operating federal contracts. These standards are expected to have significant impact in the private and nonprofit sectors as well as in government.
IBM Web Accessibility Checklist and Tutorial, at http://www3.ibm.com/able/accessweb.html. The most recent version of IBM's accessibility checklist is closely aligned with Section 508 federal standards. Each checkpoint includes a link to a short, clear tutorial about basic design and testing techniques.
Information Technology Technical Assistance Training Center (ITTATC) Web Accessibility Course, at http://www.ittatc.org/training/webcourse/index.cfm#AboutAuthor. This course was developed by Jim Thatcher, a member of the panel that developed the accessibility standards for Section 508. Thatcher developed the first screen reader for computers using a graphical user interface.
"Web Accessibility for Section 508," at http://www.jimthatcher.com/webcourse1.htm. The online accessibility course described in the previous entry, on the site of the person who wrote it. Thatcher's site (http://www.jimthatcher.com) includes other valuable information, including a comparison chart with side-by-side views of Section 508 requirements and related WCAG Checkpoints.
Knowbility online accessibility course, at http://www.knowbility.org/curriculum. An overview of accessibility issues, tools, and techniques for designing accessible Web sites.
WebABLE Solutions, at http://www.webABLE.com. Site maintained by Mike Paciello, founder of the Web Accessibility Initiative. Good design and usability information plus links to hundreds of other resources, including the WAI site.
HTML Writer's Guild Web site, at http://www.hwg.org, and the Guild's AWARE Center (Accessible Web Authoring Resources and Education), at http://www.awarecenter.org/. Site was last updated in April 2001, but authoring resources are still useful.
International Center for Disability Resources on the Internet, Section 508 Resource Page, at http://www.icdri.org/section_508_resource_page.htm. Substantial listing of government, industry, and academic resources related to federal accessibility standards as defined by Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act.
Trace Research and Development Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, at http://www.trace.wisc.edu. Probably the leading center for research on information technology and people with disabilities.
Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired Web site, at http://www.tsbvi.edu. This site, maintained by Jim Allan, Web-master and Statewide Technical Specialist, provides a wealth of information on a broad range of accessibility topics. Allan is a member of the WAI Interest Group.
Adaptive Technology Resource Center, University of Toronto, at http://www.utoronto.ca/atrc/. Wide-ranging research and development program related to adaptive technologies for persons with disabilities, including excellent work on Web and software accessibility. See also the Special Needs Opportunity Window (SNOW) project site, at http://snow.utoronto.ca/index.html.
Making Educational Software Accessible, at http://ncam.wgbh.org/cdrom/guideline/. The National Center for Accessible Media's excellent, detailed guidelines for CD-ROM-based multimedia. The guidelines aim at education but are much more broadly applicable. Site includes downloadable prototypes and information about accessibility issues related to specific development platforms.
National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM), at http://ncam.wgbh.org/. NCAM has pioneered such important developments as closed captioning and descriptive video service and continues to conduct innovative research on ways to make video and other media both interactive and accessible. Free download of NCAM's MAGpie software for captioning and describing video.
Lighthouse International, at http://www.lighthouse.org . This organization has created guides to improved legibility through font selection and sizing and effective use of color and contrast. "Simple Steps to More Readable Type through Universal Graphic Design" is available at http://www.lighthouse.org/bigtype/universal_graphic_design.htm. "Making Text Legible: Designing for People with Partial Sight" is available at http://www.lighthouse.org/print_leg.htm.
"Safe Web Colours for Colour-Deficient Vision," at http://more.btexact.com/ces/colours/. Guidelines for selecting Web colors that work for people who have difficulty seeing certain colors. Excellent illustrations. By Christine Rigdon of British Telecom.
WebAim: Web Accessibility in Mind, at http://www.webaim.org/. The Section 508 checklist with success/failure criteria is especially helpful http://www.webaim.org/standards/508/checklist.
Microsoft's Enable site, at http://www.microsoft.com/enable. Substantial site providing information about and access to many Microsoft tools for accessible design, plus links to many other resources including information about Microsoft's Active Accessibility (MSAA) Application Programming Interface (API) for Windows.
UseIt!, at http://www.useit.com. Web site maintained by Jakob Nielsen, a leading usability expert who has written some useful pointers about accessible design.
AccessFirst site of the Institute for Technology and Learning (ITAL), at http://www.ital.utexas.edu/accessfirst/. Information about the AccessFirst Design & Usability Studio and other AccessFirst design projects.
Accessibility guidelines and standards for Texas state agencies, at http://www.dir.state.tx.us/standards/srrpub11accessibility.htm. A guide to state policy and legislation concerning the accessibility of Web- and other technology-based information resources.
WebSavvy, at http://www.websavvy-access.org. Useful tutorials and other information on accessible design, including Flash, from the University of Toronto.
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