Newsletter 12

13 March, 2013

In this issue

  1. Guide for Academics by Students with Disabilities
  2. Opening links in new windows
  3. Sharepoint Accessibility
  4. Video Captioning Training
  5. Stat of the week

Guides for Academics by Students with Disabilities

"Please don't call out their names! They will not hear you, or at least pretend not to hear you." - Deaf student.

A group of Melbourne University students with disabilities have created a set of guides for academics containing tips and advice about their condition:

The Guides for Academics by Students with Disabilities cover Hearing Impairment, Mental Illness, Blindness, Dyslexia and Multiple Sclerosis.

Disability Liaison also has some excellent Teaching Strategies for teaching students with disabilities.

Opening links in new windows

As a web developer it is easy to feel a pang of resentment when adding a link to another web site. After all, you spend all this time developing your web site, finally get some visitors to it, only to then direct them somewhere else. Hence we have a tendency to want to open external links in new windows, e.g.

<a href="external-url.htm" target="_blank">Link text</a>

The problem with this approach, as observed frequently during user testing, is that the user often doesn't know that a new page has opened and is left clicking on a disabled back button.

Difficulties are increased for users with low vision who use screen magnifiers, because they often can't see that a pop-up window or new tab has opened. Unexpected changes can also be difficult for dyslexic users.

The preferred approach is to only open links in a new window where necessary, e.g. context-sensitive information such as help or forms, or where the moving to an external site might break a secure session:

G200: Opening new windows and tabs from a link only when necessary

Where links do open in new windows, users should be given advance warning by using the words 'new window' in the link, e.g.

<a href="external-url.htm" target="_blank">Link text (new window)</a> :

G201: Giving users advanced warning when opening a new window

Sharepoint Accessibility

Vision Australia recently conducted a review of the accessibility of MS Sharepoint 2010.

They found that 30 of the 38 WCAG 2.0 AA success criteria were satisfied by the out of the box installation. Another 6 success criteria required customisation of the installation and another 2 required a governance decision.

Video Captioning Training

Unfortunately our recent round of video captioning courses had to be cancelled due to difficulties in installing the required software in the ITS training labs. Apologies to those who enrolled in these courses.

We are currently looking for an alternate training venue and will advise when new courses are scheduled.

Stat of the week

In the past 3 years there has been a 600% increase in the use of screen readers on mobile devices.

iOS device usage amongst screen reader users is higher than for the average population, with 58.5% of mobile screen reader users preferring an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch.

Previous Issues

Previous issues of the Web Accessibility Newsletter are available here.

Contact Andrew Normand, Web Accessibility Program Leader
Phone: +61 3 9035 4867