Accessibility and the Web

Accessibility is an interesting topic, one that I have not devoted a whole lot of time to in practice or in thought. This is not to say that I have not interacted with or have experience with people with various disabilities. My senior year in high school, I took an American Sign Language Class where I learned the basics of the language as well as the culture surrounding the deaf community. Also my father is hard of hearing. He sustained substantial hearing loss in his right ear from the gunfire was involved with during hiss tour of duty during the Vietnam War. I also had the fortune to know a blind piano tuner and musician. Ron Harvey was a member of my church who would play the prelude music before the meeting began. A member of the congregation would walk him to the piano bench where he would play until someone came to take him back to his seat. I remember him telling me that he had to choose between playing the guitar and being able to read (playing the guitar would increase the callouses on his fingers making it difficult to read braille). I found that situation quite jarring from my world experience. At any rate, these experiences have helps me better understand those with disabilities but for whatever reason, did not translate into my coding/web practice.

I really liked Jared Smith’s article 10 Easy Accessibility Tips anyone can use. I liked it for two different reasons. The first is for its relative practical application. He wasn’t lying in the title when he called them “easy tips.” Almost all of the tips used various elements already present within HTML. Such things as using an <h1> instead of a <p> tag for the Title of the page, making use of the <caption> tags (again) instead of the <p> tag, adding alternative text to various items on the page etc. All of these techniques are using what html has already provided. In connection with this, Smith’s article touches on the notion that poorly accessible sites don’t utilize these techniques. This means that poor  (or naive for the new acquired) coders are in some ways causing a hinderance to accessibility. For whatever reason, I found this to be fairly profound. So not only is there a proper etiquette to coding (indentation, commenting, naming paradigms like camel-case etc.) there also should be common etiquette in using the tools provided to enhance the quaintly of the web page for all end users.

Dive Into Accessibility is a great resource to explore the various reasons for and ways to increase accessibility. Like I mentioned at the beginning of my post, I have little to no experience with accessibility when it comes to the web. Dive into Accessibility outlines techniques that will aid  such accessibility programs as JAWS or Home Page Reader as wells browsers. In preparing and developing my final project, I will definitely be using it as a resource to improve the accessibility of my webpage. I will be bookmarking this page for future use…

Accessibility and the Web
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One thought on “Accessibility and the Web

  • April 3, 2015 at 7:43 pm


    I agree, while this probably shouldn’t have surprised me as much as it did, I also find the idea of coding can hinder access quite profound. I’d always thought of disable accessibility as something that had to be managed on the user end through adaptive devices and other techniques, the idea that we as designers can have a huge effect, positive or negative, on disabled persons’ ability to read our pages had never occurred to me.



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