Internet Accessibility: Standards for a Modern Host
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Continuing from the prior article on Internet Accessibility (Lead by Example
), Dan Wellman goes on to examine the WAI WCAG guidelines and check-points in more detail. It also gives examples of how to ensure these checkpoints and guidelines are met.
Looking first then at the WAI WCAG 1.0; there are 14 guidelines in total, each of which are broken up into several check-points. Each check-point describes how a different aspect of that particular guideline is met, and each check-point is ranked according to its impact upon accessibility.
There are three different levels of conformance; to meet conformance level A, all priority one check-points must be met; to meet conformance level AA, all priority one and two must be met; to meet conformance level AAA, all priority one, two and three must be adhered to.
As mentioned in the previous article, hosts can lead websites by example by providing the most comprehensive conformance possible, preferably AAA. Also, providing tools for adherence as well as these guidelines to hosted sites can help make the internet more friendly for all people, as well as more profitable for those who can potentially sell to the handicapped.
Guideline one states that textual equivalents to visual or audio content must be provided. This is broken down into five check-points; provide a textual equivalent to every non-textual element of the page, provide redundant text links for server-side client maps, provide an auditory representation of the important parts of a visual presentation, synchronise the audio explanations with the visual content and provide redundant text links for client-side image maps. You can see that these check-points are very closely related. All of these are priority one except for point five which is a priority three.
Guideline two specifies that colour should not be relied upon alone to convey meaning. This has just two checkpoints; ensure that information provided with colour is also provided without colour, and to ensure that foreground and back ground colours provide enough contrast to be viewed in a black and white rendition or interpreted successfully by people with low vision. Checkpoint one is a priority one.
Guideline three says that mark-up and CSS should be used correctly. This guideline is split into seven check-points, each of which is a priority two. The individual checkpoints are that mark-up should be used where possible instead of images to convey information, documents should be valid, relative rather than absolute property vales should be used in both HTML andCSS, header elements should be used according to their purpose, lists should be used correctly where appropriate, as should quotations.
Guideline four discusses that natural language of the document and states that any changes in the natural language should be clearly marked-up, the first occurrence of any acronyms or abbreviations should be marked-up and contain a title attribute giving the full meaning of the abbreviated word or acronym, and the language of the document should be indicated on the HTML element. Check-point one is a priority 1, whereas the other two are priority two.
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