Designing More Usable Web Sites
This section of Designing a More Usable World is dedicated to cooperative efforts linked toward building a more usable Web for all. At the present time, there are a number of interlocking and interrelated efforts. These include:
- Accessible Web Site Guidelines
- Web Access Tools
- Governmental Efforts
- Selected Resources on Disability and Web Use
- Browsers with Built-in Voice or Other Access Features
- Forums for Discussing Accessibility Issues
- Multimedia and Virtual Reality Access
- Background on the World Wide Web
- Organizations, Projects and Technologies Addressing Web Access Issues
- Past Projects and References
Accessible Web Guidelines
- Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 (Working Draft)
- Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0
- Errata in Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0
- User Agent Accessibility Guidelines 1.0
- Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines 1.0
Reference Materials for Creating Accessible Web Sites
- WAI Quick Tips Reference Card - An introduction to the key concepts of accessible web design.
- Getting Started: Making a Web Site Accessible - A resource for learning and understanding Web Accessibility.
Web Access Tools
- Designing More Usable Documents - Navigation and reading tools
- Large Print Web Viewer
- Tablin: an HTML Table Linearizer
- See also Browsers with Built-in Voice or Other Access Features
- Accessibility-Prompt Toolkit
- HTML Tidy
- Macromedia Dreamweaver Check Page for Accessibility Extension
- 508 Accessibility Suite for Dreamweaver
- Office 2000 HTML Filter
- SSB Technologies
- Web Intermediaries (WBI)
- W3C CSS Validator
- W3C HTML Validation Service
- See Also Evaluation, Repair, and Transformation Tools for Web Content Accessibility
- Federal IT Accessibility Initiative information on Web Accessibility and Section 508 (Section508.gov) - The Federal Information Technology Accessibility Initiative is a Federal government interagency effort to offer information and technical assistance to assist in the successful implementation of Section 508.
- US DOJ Opinion on Web Accessibility
- Policies Relating to Web Accessibility
- Usability.gov - Resource for designing usable, useful and accessible Web site and user interfaces.
- Addition to the Record: House Judiciary Committee Oversight Hearing on "The Applicability of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to Private Internet Sites" - Comments submitted to the Subcommittee on the Constitution of the House Judiciary Committee for inclusion in the record of its Feb. 2000 hearing on "The Applicability of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to Private Internet Sites."
- See Also Governmental Efforts section of the Designing More Usable Documents
Selected Resources on Disability and Web Use
- How People with Disabilities Use the Web - This document provides an introduction to use of the Web by people with disabilities. It illustrates some of their requirements when using Web sites and Web-based applications, and provides supporting information for the guidelines and technical work of the World Wide Web Consortium's (W3C) Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI).
- Introduction to the Screen Reader - This short video, featuring Trace Center Instrumentation Specialist Neal Ewers, demonstrates how screen readers assist the blind to navigate the web, access electronic documents and more. Created in partnership with the University of Wisconsin Division of Information Technology's Learning Technology and Distance Education Program, this video serves as a great starting point for anyone interested in better understanding how a screen reader interacts with electronic content.
- The Color Laboratory - Project at the AWARE Center that allows designers to to select colors and see how they appear next to one another, and in various foreground/background combinations under simulated color blindness scenarios.
- Colorblind Design Evaluation - This online tool provides 3 ways to see what colors used in HTML code look like to the color blind.
- Colorfield Insight Plug-in - This plugin can be used by designers to model and predict image legibility for color deficient viewers. The site also includes an online demonstration of three common types of colorblindness. (Adobe Photoshop)
- Vischeck - This online tool (also available as a Photoshop plugin for Windows) allows you to upload an image file and check the visibility of your graphics and text. This tool can show you what your image looks like to people who are color blind, people with glaucoma or macular degeneration, elders and children.
- Color Deficiency - Information about color deficiency from the American Optometric Association.
- Colors for the Color Blind - This site describes color deficiency, as well as its causes and effects. It also furnishes a set of color charts to aid the color blind in working with computer colors, especially on the Internet and in Web sites.
- We are colorblind.com - Wearecolorblind.com is a library with patterns and examples for anyone who designs, develops or is in another way involved with creating websites or content for the web.
- Disability and the Digital Divide - Information from the Disability Statistics Center about the relationship between disability and the digital divide issue.
- Computer and Internet Use Among People with Disabilities - Information from the Disability Statistics Center on the prevalence of Internet use by people with disabilities.
- Blindness and Low Vision: Statistics - This collection from the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) contains many useful numbers related to both blindness and low vision.
- Blindness Statistics - National Federation of the Blind (NFB) information on the prevalence of blindness in the US. The page also includes information about the cost of blindness and employment rates of the blind.
- GVU's Tenth WWW User Survey - Includes information on the number of Web users who reported having a disability.
Browsers with Built-in Voice or Other Access Features
- AspireREADER- Aequus Technologies
- Home Page Reader - IBM
- Internet Explorer - Microsoft
- Lynx Browser
- Opera - Opera Software
- Simply Web 2000
- Sensus Internet Browser
- magicTalk - General Magic, Inc. (Voice access to Web content)
Other Browser Resources
- AnyBrowser.com - Resource for browser compatibility verification.
- The Compendium of HTML Elements - The Compendium is intended as an unabridged reference source for users of the Hypertext Markup Language. Its mission is to provide a resource for web site authors to get valid information on all HTML elements (and their derivatives), where they came from, what they are supposed to do, and who supports them.
- Alternative Web Browsing - This W3C/WAI resource is a collection of pointers to information related to alternative browsing methods.
- List of World Wide Web Browsers - A list that lists and describes the alternatives that are available to the mainstream browsers.
Forums for Discussing Accessibility Issues
The following discussion lists include information focused on the accessibility of web technologies, accessible web authoring and other related topics.
- The Web Accessibility Initiative Interest Group (WAI IG) provides a forum for discussion of issues relating to Web accessibility, particularly issues related to WAI activities. Subscription information for the WAI IG mailing list is available on the WAI Interest Group Home Page.
- WebAIM Web Accessibility Forum Mailing List - The Web Accessibility Forum mailing list is for anyone interested in discussing Web accessibility issues. Individuals from all organizations and specialties are encouraged to join.
- UACCESS-l (hosted by the Trace Center) is a list for discussion of universal access to information systems.
- www-talk (hosted by the W3C) This is the primary public mailing list for technical discussion among those developing World Wide Web software. It is explicitly intended for the collaborative design of new systems, software, protocols, and documentation which may be useful to the WWW developer community. Visit the W3C Mailing List Administrativia page for information about how to subscribe.
- Accessifyforum.com lists tools, wizards, articles and tutorials on web accessibility for the conscientious web developer. The site also includes a forum for discussion of accessibility issues.
Multimedia and Virtual Reality Access
Features of SVG - W3C note about the accessibility features of
Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG), a language for describing
two-dimensional vector and mixed vector/raster graphics in
- Media Access Generator (MAGpie)
- Recent Developments In Accessible Web-Based Multimedia - Paper presented by Geoff Freed at CPB/WGBH National Center for Accessible Media at the 1999 CSUN (California State University, Northridge) "Technology and Persons with Disabilities" conference
- Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on TeleRehabilitation
- Riding the Perfect Wave: Putting Virtual Reality to Work with Disabilities*
- Making VRML Accessible
- SMILTM (Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language)
- Microsoft SAMI (Synchronized Accessible Media Interchange)
- VRML Accessibility Project - University of Toronto
Background on the World Wide Web
- The Roads and Crossroads of Internet History
- A little history of the WWW
- The World Wide Web: A very short personal history by Tim Berners-Lee
- The Nature of Cyberspace
Organizations, Projects and Technologies Addressing Web Access Issues
The following are sites which have large long-term multi-funded efforts directed toward Web access.
- Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) - WAI is a World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Initiative that, in coordination with organizations around the world, pursues accessibility of the Web through five primary areas of work: technology, guidelines, tools, education and outreach, and research and development.
- Trace R&D Center (this site) - Trace works in conjunction with other Web Accessibility groups around the world to promote the design of more accessible and usable Web sites.
- Accessible Web Authoring Resources and Education Center (AWARE) - Part of the HTML Writer's Guild, AWARE serves as a central resource for web authors for learning about Web accessibility.
- Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST) - CAST is a not-for-profit organization that uses technology to expand opportunities for all people, including those with disabilities.
- The Adaptive Technology Resource Centre (ATRC) - ATRC, part of the University of Toronto, works to advance technology to meet challenges faced by people with disabilities.
- CPB/WGBH National Center on Accessible Media (NCAM) - NCAM focuses on a wide variety of projects having to do with web and multimedia access.
- The Universal Design / Disability Access Program - The Universal Design/Disability Access Program (UD/DA) for Advanced Computational Infrastructure project, headquartered at the Trace Center, works with the The National Partnership for Advanced Computational Infrastructure (NPACI) program on infrastructure development by and for the application of advanced computational techniques.
- access.adobe.com - Adobe's Accessibility Resource Center, including information about developing accessibility strategies for the use of Portable Document Format (PDF) files on the Web.
- WebAble! - Works to make the Internet and World Wide Web more accessible to people with disabilities by providing accessibility services to help make web sites easier to access by people with disabilities.
- WebAIM - Web Accessibility In Mind (WebAIM) is administered through a grant provided by the Learning Anywhere Anytime Program Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education. The organization's goal is to improve accessibility to online learning opportunities for all people; in particular to improve accessibility for individuals with disabilities who currently may have a difficult time getting access to postsecondary online learning opportunities.
- World Institute on Disability - WID is a nonprofit, international public-policy center dedicated to carrying out cutting edge research on disability issues and overcoming obstacles to independent living.
- Crittur.com Web Accessibility Workshop - This introduction to Web accessibility illustrates the importance of accessible Web design and provides resources for authors.
- Designing to meet the needs of visually impaired people - Typography information from Text Matters, a UK-based information design consultancy.
- Web Accessibility for All - A project of the University of Wisconsin Center on Education and Work that offers online tutorials and other information for making Web sites accessible.
Past Projects and References
- Java Accessibility and Usability Work
- The Browser/Screen Reader Dialog - Suggestions for enhancing the usability and accessibility of today's browsers
- Notes on Designing Screen Readers to Work More Effectively With WWW Browsers
- Other Accessible Web Site Guidelines - A list of older Web access guidelines used in the compilation of current guidelines and techniques.
- 2 Pager on Key Issues in Assuring That the National Information Infrastructure (NII) in Classrooms is Accessible
- Universal Access Project