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Building Accessible Websites

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This week we're all over accessible websites. You might be asking yourself, "Why should I build those extra accessibility features into my church or ministry website?" If you are, we have an answer for you and we dig into the bible for our reason. That's right... biblical support for accessible websites.

At the same time, building accessible websites doesn't mean doing much more than following the standards we talked about last week. Using xhtml and css is the first step to building accessible sites.

But, before we dive into building websites we talk about using and being apart of internet communities. The good, the bad, and the ugly. There are some great advantages to being part of an online community and yet there are some drawbacks worth taking into careful consideration.

So, please join us for a hoot of a time on the Geeks and God podcast....

That is soo cool the CEO of

That is soo cool the CEO of the iboss is going to be a guest. I had the iboss for almost a year now and it rocks! There are some downtimes every so often, but not for very long. Its great to be able to use it regardless of OS. I have it networked between a mac and pc. I notice no internet slow downs at all. Cant wait to hear this cast.

Websites Aimed at the Blind

Here's a website for blind programmers. Looking at some websites aimed at the blind might be helpful to see how they compare to your own website when viewed without any CSS formatting.

http://www.blindprogramming.com/

Good Idea

Good idea. Looking at websites for the blind can definitely help designers understand accessible site layout.

Matt Farina
Geeks and God Co-Host
www.mattfarina.com

Matt Farina
Geeks and God Former Co-Host
www.mattfarina.com

Assumptions about how to make a site accesible

Hi,

When talking about accessibility, it is very easy to start repeating the common wisdom on the subject, without actually testing out ideas in the real world. For example, when it comes to page source order, should navigation links be before or after the content? There is a very interesting talk on the subject:
Page Source Order and Accessibility (Duration: 1:29:09 - File size: 20.41 MB)
given by Roger Hudson (who has a text based version of the talk and Russ Weakley at OzeWAI 2005 at La Trobe University in Melbourne. You can even follow along with the presentation slides if you want.

That is from the Web standards group podcast, which has some good older talks now, but doesn't seem to be updated much any more.

Ed

Great points...

Hey Ed....

Tons of great info from you, as usual.

I agree with you fully...this is something that I struggle with everytime I lay out a site. Usually it makes more sense for the nav links to come early in the document, however many folks claim they should be at the end...I like the solution we proposed (that we stole from "Designing with Web Standards"). Use a hidden "skip navigation" link at the beginning of each menu. Then you can have your menus up front, but make them easy to skip over.

Again, in practice, this is a pain to remember to do (and, honestly, usually I don't) but to me it seems like the proper solution to nav links in your source order.

-Rob Feature
Geeks and God Co-Host
www.bobchristenson.com

-Rob Feature
Geeks and God Co-Host
www.mustardseedmedia.com

Don't Display:None Accessibility Stuff

Speaking of accessibility stuff... that added stuff should not be hidden with display: none. There are a bunch of screen readers that jump over these elements when you have this. Lame, I know.

I have read that instead of not displaying them set the height and width to 0. Any thoughts?

Matt Farina
Geeks and God Co-Host
www.mattfarina.com

Matt Farina
Geeks and God Former Co-Host
www.mattfarina.com

thoughts on skip links

Some thoughts:
Accessible Dynamic Links by Mike Davies.

Skip Navigation Links.

Skip Link Pros and Cons.

I think the problem with most screen readers for web site is that they do what they say on the tin: read the screen, rather than the source code. If someone came out with a web site reader, that actually read a site based on the source code, then we could really see the benefits of web standards on web design in this area.

Thanks,

Ed

Web Accessibility Resources

Here are some keys resources on Web accessibility:

God bless.

web developer toolbar

Another thing you can do is install the web developer toolbar in firefox. Then you can validate a page against things like a Section 508 or WAI right from your browser.

Accessibility is very important.

Matt Farina
Geeks and God Co-Host
www.innovatingtomorrow.net
www.mattfarina.com

Matt Farina
Geeks and God Former Co-Host
www.mattfarina.com