The Prime Directive: Equivalent Alternatives for Maximum Accessibility

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Maximum Accessibility: Making Your Web Site More Usable for Everyone
By John M. Slatin,, Sharron Rush
Table of Contents
Chapter 9.  Equivalent Alternatives


The "prime directive" of Web accessibility the number-one item in both WCAG 1.0 and the Section 508 federal accessibility standards that took effect in June 2001 is the requirement to provide "equivalent alternatives" for visual and auditory elements of the Web site. In this chapter, to explore what that means, we begin at the beginning. We start with ALT text, then move on to other kinds of text equivalents; finally, we briefly discuss uses of other media as alternatives to text.

HTML Elements and Attributes Addressed in This Chapter

Elements

<img>, <area>, <script>, <applet>

Attributes

alt, src, longdesc, width, height

Accessibility Checkpoints and Standards Addressed in This Chapter

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0 Checkpoints

1. Provide equivalent alternatives for auditory and visual content.

1.1. Provide a text equivalent for every non-text element (e.g., via "alt", "longdesc", or in element content). This includes: images, graphical representations of text (including symbols), image map regions, animations (e.g., animated GIFs), applets and programmatic objects, ASCII art, frames, scripts, images used as list bullets, spacers, graphical buttons, sounds (played with or without user interaction), stand-alone audio files, audio tracks of video, and video. [Priority 1]

1.3. Until user agents can automatically read aloud the text equivalent of a visual track, provide an auditory description of the important information of the visual track of a multimedia presentation. [Priority 1]

1.4. For any time-based multimedia presentation synchronize equivalent alternatives with the presentation. [Priority 1]

9.1. Provide client-side image maps instead of server-side image maps except where the regions cannot be identified with an available geometric shape. [Priority 1]

14.2. Supplement text with graphic or auditory presentations where they will facilitate comprehension of the page. [Priority 3]

Section 508 Standards, §1194.22

(a) A text equivalent for every non-text element shall be provided (e.g., via "alt", "longdesc", or in element content).

(b) Equivalent alternatives for any multimedia presentation shall be synchronized with the presentation.

(f) Client-side image maps shall be provided instead of server-side image maps except where the regions cannot be defined with an available geometric shape.


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    Maximum Accessibility(c) Making Your Web Site More Usable for Everyone
    Maximum Accessibility: Making Your Web Site More Usable for Everyone: Making Your Web Site More Usable for Everyone
    ISBN: 0201774224
    EAN: 2147483647
    Year: 2002
    Pages: 128

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