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Accessibility Observations 2

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From: Raleigh Way
Date: Feb 27, 2002 5:33AM


Everyone on this list has offered excellent
insight/opinions/observations. What a fantastic group of people! I
can't thank you enough.

My main concern concern/question was designing a "linear" site that
would work with any AT version. CSS seems to be the best approach
when AT software and browsers catch up with it.

Terence de Giere pointed out the following (which I knew):

"OLDER SCREENREADERS.
Some combinations of browser and screenreader cannot read information
in columns created by tables. Those readers just read horizontally
across the screen, cutting across the table boundaries and making the
page incomprehensible. The only solution for these users is a single
column page."

This epitomizes what I'm grappling with. It seems the only recourse
is to create a site that literally reads from left to right, top to
bottom, with navigation laid out horizontally at the very top of the
page. I realize that this just isn't possible for higher-end
(corporate) sites.

I'm looking for a "formula" that works in spite of screen reader or
browser versions. I work in education, and I'm responsible for
bringing accessibility issues to faculty and staff who design web
sites on campus. (We do not have a department that does this for
them.) A lot of them do not even know to spell HTML..., so I'm
challenged with the task of making to job comprehensible and easier
for them. I'm a believer in the KISS principle, so until CSS,
browsers and AT software all come together, KISS dictates that the
flow of text and links on the pages be linear for older screen
readers. So, for my faculty and staff it seems, linear text in one
column, navigation at the top, skip to content links, alt tags,
longdes tags and such will have to suffice if they are Web design
challenged. My/their goal is functiona