Newsletter 5

14 May, 2011

In this issue

  1. Top 10 Accessibility Tips
  2. Accessible Mathematical Expressions
  3. Flash Accessibility
  4. Cloud Accessibility
  5. Stat of the week

Top 10 Accessibility Tips

The following tips address the most common accessibility problems on UoM web pages:

  1. Add alt text to images and add labels to forms.
  2. Use heading tags, table headings and lists.
  3. Provide sufficient color contrast.
  4. Make each page navigable by keyboard alone.
  5. Allow pausing of animations.
  6. Add skip to content links.
  7. Add a meaningful page title.
  8. Avoid 'click here' link text.
  9. Keep navigation consistent.
  10. Avoid pop-up windows.

More information on each tip is available here

Accessible Mathematical Expressions

The US National Center for Accessible Media has some good suggestions on how to make mathematical expressions more accessible including:

  • Using MathML to provide access to scientific and mathematical expressions.
  • Using LaTeX to provide access to scientific and mathematical expressions.
  • Using pre-recorded audio to read static scientific and mathematical expressions.
  • Using concatenated speech strings for simple scientific and mathematical expressions.
  • Creating scientific and mathematical expressions scripts using guidelines for spoken mathematics.

More information about accessible mathematics is available here

Flash Accessibility

The W3C has released a set of techniques for making Flash accessible

Adobe are saying that Flash Player 11 will support IAccessible2 and WAI-ARIA, but given they have been saying that for over a year, there is some grounds for scepticism.

Cloud Accessibility

'Cloud computing' is one of those futuristic terms that sounds very 'web 2.0'.

So it is not entirely surprising that 'cloud accessibility' has become the latest catch phrase in web accessibility circles. When organisations outsource their web sites and services to 'the cloud' they effectively outsource accessibility, security and privacy in the process.

The concept sounds attractive. Simply centralize the application interface and make it accessible in one place rather than many. But is it really that easy?

A good illustration of the cloud concept is Google's suite of online apps including Gmail, Documents and Calendar.

Unfortunately Google Apps are also an example of an accessibility failure, with the US National Institute for the Blind recently claiming that the use of Google Apps by universities discriminates against the blind.

Perhaps 'under a cloud accessibility' might be a more accurate term.

Stat of the week

  • 57% of screen reader users use headings to navigate the page, 22% use the 'find' feature, 13% use page links and 8% read through the entire page.

Whilst WCAG currently recommends only oneper page, 50% of screen reader users prefer two headings, one for the site name, and one for the document title. 37% prefer a tag on the document title only, and 13% prefer a tag for the site name only.

No doubt the debate over whether to use of multipletags will continue, especially with HTML 5 allowing multipletags.

The main thing to remember is the importance of using heading tags to give structure to pages.

Previous Issues

Previous issues of the Web Accessibility Newsletter are available here.

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