WebAIM - Web Accessibility In Mind

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Re: Subject:need some help re problem sites (Dave Merril)


From: Dave Merrill
Date: May 1, 2013 5:17AM

@Bronwyn, thanks for getting back. I understand that your site is intended
to be less technical and more approachable, which is one of the things I
thought was great about it. In an ideal world, non- or semi-technical
people who were interested in improving the accessibility of their site
wouldn't have to wade through mountains of technical specs to learn about
the issues and general approaches to fixing them.

You're right that I'm a tech-y (developer for a commercial content
management software product). In that light, let me just say that if you
(or others) see significant benefit to HTML5 techniques, there are "shims"
available, small pieces of stylesheet and javascript code that improve
compatibility with older browsers a great deal. The CSS is helpful for all
older browsers. The javascript is only needed for versions of Internet
Explorer older than version 8, and of course will only work if javascript
is enabled, leaving IE users with javascrpit disabled or accessing sites on
devices that don't run javascript at all possibly unable to access some
content. If, given those limitations, you or any tech folks on your team
would like more information, let me know.

Dave Merrill

Dave Merrill

On Wed, May 1, 2013 at 1:40 AM, Bronwyn Lapham < <EMAIL REMOVED> >wrote:

> Hi Dave
> To put this in context, Jodie and I both work in the Australian Vocational
> Education and Training sector. The recommendations made in that document
> are aimed at people in that sector, and include our national technical
> "e"-standards. Because a significant number of users are still using
> old-ish technology (we dropped IE6 last year), the e-standards attempt to
> provide as interoperable an environment as possible. I should also mention
> the document is aimed primarily at providing guidance and principles of
> accessibility to teachers - it looks a bit "WCAGgy" but we were trying to
> present the info in a somewhat less challenging and more friendly way.
> Based on your previous posts I think you have a technical background and
> would be perhaps better served by the WebAIM site, or the W3C techniques,
> or one of the other sites that have more technical depth rather than ours.
> We have a watching brief on HTML5. Until our users migrate to more current
> browsers (often controlled by IT departments in large tertiary education
> institutions) we'll stick with XHTML 1.0 as our safest option.
> I'm certainly no expert on ARIA - I understand it is still in development,
> and we would not recommend a draft standard (again - in this particular
> context).
> And it's my understanding that only if an image conveys information (that
> does include creating a mood or evoking a feeling) should its alt attribute
> have a value. I heard of an instance of a web page read by a screen reader
> that included "One pixel transparent gif used as a spacer" multiple times.
> Imagine! I think that different screen readers will behave differently if
> there is no alt attribute, including going so far as to read out the path
> to the image and its name.
> There are far more expert people on this list than I, and I *really* hope
> they will weigh in.
> cheers
> Bronwyn
> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> From: Dave Merrill < <EMAIL REMOVED> >
> To: WebAIM Discussion List < <EMAIL REMOVED> >
> Cc:
> Date: Tue, 30 Apr 2013 07:13:05 -0400
> Subject: Re: [WebAIM] need some help re problem sites (Hoger, Jodie)
> Hi Bronwyn, your guide looks very useful. I have a couple of questions, for
> you and anyone else who'd like to chime in, if you don't mind. Please
> excuse any obvious questions, I'm new to accessibility.
> - You recommend the XHTML 1.0 Transitional doctype. Is there a problem
> using HTML5?
> - The navigation section doesn't mention the use of heading tags (h1-h6),
> or ARIA roles. I thought both were commonly used by screen reader users to
> discover content and navigate within the page. Am I wrong that they're
> important?
> - I wasn't aware of the idea that purely decorative images should have
> empty alt text. I thought all images should have alt text describing the
> image or its functionality within the page. Do screen
> readers completely skip images with no alt text, or are they announced as
> unlabeled?
> Just to be clear, none of this is meant as criticism, just me trying
> to understand what's important, and how to best get there.
> Thanks,
> Dave Merrill
> > > >

Dave Merrill