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Appendix B - Suggested Accessibility Resources

This appendix compiles all the topic-specific resources mentioned throughout this workbook and provides an overview of general resources on web accessibility, as well as what is available at Cornell.

Of course, the web is a moving target, so if you find that any of these sites are no longer operational, or have another good resource to suggest, please contact the Office of Web Communications.

Cornell Resources

Join the new email discussion list on Web accessibility, webaccessibility-l. This list disseminates progress on the draft policy, training and education opportunities, and other developments in this area. It is also a forum for you to ask question and discuss accessibility issues. To join the list, send an email to webaccessibility-l-request@cornell.edu with the word "join" (no quotes) in the body.

Cornell provides some HTML templates at http://cornelllogo.cornell.edu/templates. These have accessible options such as including “skip navigation.”

This workbook and announcements about associated training sessions are at www.cit.cornell.edu/policies/accessibility

General Resources

Web Accessibility in Mind (www.webaim.org), or WebAIM, may be the best single introduction to online accessibility. It hosts an extensive collection of articles and how-tos on accessibility generally and on specific applications and file types. WebAIM also provides insight into how people with different kinds of disabilities access the web, including many simulations and videos.

Checklists

If you like checklists, you might find these sites helpful:

  • This Quick Accessibility Checklist is meant to help faculty and staff who want to develop or modify Web-based course material, lectures, and assignments in an accessible way: http://accessibility.psu.edu/checklist
  • These Guidelines for Accessible Distance Education categorize strategies into musts, shoulds and mays for PDF, Excel, Flash, PowerPoint, Video and Word: www.catea.org/grade/guides/introduction.php.

Online Courses and Tutorials

Online courses and tutorials covering web accessibility generally include:

  • A Section 508 Web Accessibility Tutorial includes sections on text alternatives, checking accessibility, navigation, image maps, audio and multimedia, color/flicker use, forms, tables, scripts and applets, style sheets, and 508 provisions: www.jimthatcher.com/webcourse1.htm.
  • The Access E-Learning tutorial, available via free registration, provides extensive information and practice labs on disabilities, creating an accessibility plan, PowerPoint, Video, Flash, Word, Excel, PDF, HTML and Scripts/Java: www.accesselearning.net.
  • “Web Accessibility 101” course is organized by 508 guidelines, and also includes information on evaluating for accessibility: www.doit.wisc.edu/accessibility/online-course/start.htm.
  • The New York State Forum's IT Accessibility Committee created an “Accessibility Curriculum” in 2005, also available online. It includes introductory information and covers images, cascading style sheets, tables, forms, scripting, PDF, XML, multimedia tools, usability and validation/evaluation. The curriculum includes useful sample files to demonstrate each concept, and HTML and PowerPoint versions of each curriculum topic: www.nysforum.org/accessibility/resources/curriculum/curriculum.html.

Resources by Topic

These are the resources pointed out throughout this workbook, organized by topic.

Introductions to Accessibility

The succinct web-based presentation, “A Quick and Dirty Introduction to Accessibility,” at www.maxdesign.com.au/presentation/accessibility provides an excellent introduction to web accessibility, along with links to explore assistive technologies available to people with different kinds of disabilities.

WebAIM’s introduction to web accessibility at www.webaim.org/intro is also a good starting point, with further links to experiences and needs specific to particular kinds of disabilities. Their series of articles on the user’s perspective at www.webaim.org/articles provide great insight into the way people with various kinds of disabilities access the web, or can be prevented from accessing by bad web design. The articles often include short videos and exercises as well.

Specific Disabilities and Web Access

WebAIM has extensive resources, including simulations, about making the web accessible to people with visual disabilities. For example, visit www.webaim.org/techniques/screenreader for more details on screen readers in particular, with links to further resources available at the end.

WebAIM’s section on deafness, at www.webaim.org/articles/auditory, provides some insight into hearing loss and how this impacts web use.

The short article “Making the Web Accessible for the Deaf, Hearing and Mobility Impaired,” at www.samizdat.com/pac2.html, provides some quick tips on accessible design for people with auditory or motor disabilities.

The authors of “An Accessibility Frontier: Cognitive disabilities and learning difficulties” provide guidance in these areas at www.usability.com.au/resources/cognitive.cfm.

Accessibility Standards

The two main sets of accessibility standards for the web are the Federal government’s Section 508 and the World Wide Web Consortium’s (W3C) Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) (www.w3.org/WAI).

Cornell is following the Section 508 standards. Full information on Section 508 is online at www.section508.gov. From there, look up the 508 Law Technical Standards on “1194.22 Web-based intranet and internet information and applications.”

WebAIM has a nice chart detailing what would “pass” and “fail” against each 508 rule at www.webaim.org/standards/508/checklist.php.

Evaluation Resources

WebAIM, a non-profit organization within the Center for Persons with Disabilities at Utah State University, provides a series of articles on evaluating accessibility (see the Evaluation section of www.webaim.org/articles), which includes a useful review of free online tools (www.webaim.org/articles/freetools). They also host their own free evaluation tool, WAVE, at www.wave.webaim.org.

Checking for Colorblindness Accessibility

Vischeck, www.vischeck.com, lets you assess your site for accessibility to people who have limited or no color vision.

Checking for HTML Headings

Enter the URL of the page you want to check at http://validator.w3.org/detailed.html, check the “Show Outline” box, and then click the “validate this page” button. Skip to the bottom of the output to the Outline section.

Images and Alt-text

WebAIM provides a great introduction to image accessibility at www.webaim.org/techniques/images/, which includes useful examples of good alt text for the same images in different contexts.

Resources on flickering images

For more information and links to examples (which you should not click on if you are susceptible to seizures) visit www.webaim.org/articles/seizure.

Transcripts and Captions for Audio/Visual Media

Most of the above is drawn from WebAIM’s article on captions at www.webaim.org/techniques/captions. It provides details on captioning options and technologies that can help you create synchronized, accessible captions.

See also the checklists on video use at www.catea.org/grade/guides/videomust.php.

Writing

For more tips on clear writing, and in particular writing for people with cognitive disabilities and reading disorders, visit www.webaim.org/techniques/writing.

Acronyms

A good article on how to handle acronyms, particularly in HTML contexts, is at www.alistapart.com/articles/hattrick.

Microsoft Word

As always, WebAIM offers great tips on making Word documents accessible, including some information on converting to HTML, at www.webaim.org/techniques/word.

If you like checklists, you’ll like the “musts”, “shoulds” and “mays” of accessible Word use at www.catea.org/grade/guides/wordmust.php.

The free online Access E-Learning course, at www.accesselearning.net, has an entire tutorial with detailed instructions and practice labs on this topic.

Adobe PDFs

If you decide to post PDF files online, a good introductory how-to guide for Acrobat 6.0 is California Community Colleges High Tech Center Training Unit’s “Creating Accessible PDFs,” at www.htctu.fhda.edu/trainings/manuals/web/Creating_Accessible_PDFs.pdf. Checklists of musts, shoulds and mays start at www.catea.org/grade/guides/acrobatmust.php, with a full how-to tutorial on PDF as a module within www.accesselearning.net.

At www.webaim.org/techniques/acrobat/understandingtags.php, WebAIM explains how to add tags to new and existing PDF documents. For complete instructions (100+ pages), visit http://www.adobe.com/accessibility/ and download Adobe’s own guide to “Creating Accessible PDF Documents with Adobe Acrobat” for Adobe 7.0.

Adobe’s free Make Accessible Plug-in for tagging PDFs is online at www.adobe.com/support/downloads/detail.jsp?hexID=88de. However, the effectiveness of this tagging has received mixed reviews from web developers interested in accessibility.

Adobe also offers a free tool for converting PDFs to HTML at www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/access_onlinetools.html.

Microsoft Excel

You can take a full online course module on Excel at www.accesselearning.net or review checklists for accessible Excel spreadsheets at www.catea.org/grade/guides/excelmust.php.

Microsoft PowerPoint

You’ll find WebAIM’s succinct introduction to accessible PowerPoint use at www.webaim.org/techniques/powerpoint, with a full training module on PowerPoint as part of the course at www.accesselearning.net.

Two fact sheets, “Posting Accessible PowerPoint Presentations” and “PowerPoint Presentation into an Accessible Webpage (HTML File),” are at www.catea.org/grade/factsheets.php, with checklists at www.catea.org/grade/guides/powerpointmust.php.

HTML

Find detailed techniques and instructions at www.w3.org/TR/WCAG10-HTML-TECHS. The Access E-Learning course module on HTML is also helpful: www.accesselearning.net.

FrontPage and Expression Web

You’ll find introductions to the accessibility features of FrontPage and Expression Web at www.webaim.org/techniques/frontpage and www.webaim.org/techniques/msew.

"Skip Navigation" Links

Find out more about these and other “skip” methods at www.webaim.org/techniques/skipnav.

Templates

Cornell provides some HTML templates at http://cornelllogo.cornell.edu/templates. These have accessible options such as including “skip navigation”. No template can ensure your site will be accessible – only you can do that, by using your judgment and following the guidelines here.

For more on using templates, see www.webaim.org/techniques/templates.

Forms

WebAIM’s article on forms, at www.webaim.org/techniques/forms, includes sample HTML code as well as instructions for using Dreamweaver and FrontPage to create accessible forms. They also host an article on Usable and Accessible Form Validation and Error Recovery (www.webaim.org/techniques/formvalidation).

The HTML module of the online Access E-Learning tutorial lets you practice creating accessible HTML for building forms by updating inaccessible code. Sign up for free access at www.accesselearning.net.

Tabindex

In rare cases, such as in some online forms or when you use tables to create complex page layouts, you might need to create the correct tabbing order using <tabindex>. See www.webaim.org/techniques/keyboard/tabindex.php for more information.

Frames

Use the correct document type. The proper frameset doctype lets screen readers and other browsers know that the document consists of multiple frames. See sample code at www.webaim.org/techniques/frames.

Tables

You’ll find a great introduction, including sample HTML code, at www.webaim.org/techniques/tables.

For designing data tables, the article “Accessible Data Tables” at www.usability.com.au/resources/tables.cfm is helpful.

The tool at www.accessify.com/tools-and-wizards/accessibility-tools/table-builder/ actually creates accessible data table HTML for you if you enter your requirements, such as the number of rows and columns.

Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)

See WebAIM’s introduction to style sheets at www.webaim.org/techniques/css, including a section on using CSS to improve accessibility with content that is invisible to users who don’t need it. The Access E-learning tutorial includes some tips on CSS within their HTML course module at www.accesselearning.net.

W3schools offers CSS tutorials, 70 examples, and a CSS reference listing at www.w3schools.com/css. Also, Cornell’s CIT offers face-to-face training sessions on Getting Started with CSS. Visit the technical training schedule available at www.cit.cornell.edu/training to see when the next workshop is.

JavaScript

How to implement each of the approaches and solutions listed above is covered at www.webaim.org/techniques/javascript/. WebAIM also includes a piece on accessible AJAX, www.webaim.org/techniques/ajax/. Additional information on accessibility and AJAX is located at www.washington.edu/accessibility/ajax.html. You will find a thorough 3-hour self-guided tutorial about accessible scripting, including JavaScripts, as the last module in the free online Access E-Learning course at www.accesselearning.net.

Plug-ins

WebAIM compares media players (RealMedia Player, RealOne, Quicktime, and Windows Media Player) in this article: www.webaim.org/techniques/captions/mediaplayers. They recommend using players as standalone, rather than embedding them, to make them accessible.

WebAIM also hosts an article about using Flash accessibly, www.webaim.org/techniques/flash. The “Flash and Accessibility” article at www.usability.com.au/resources/flash.cfm provides a bit more detail, and you’ll find checklists at www.catea.org/grade/guides/flashmust.php. Adobe’s Flash Accessibility information is at www.adobe.com/accessibility/products/flash.

Converting Files

For converting PDFs to HTML, Adobe offers a free online tool at: www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/access_onlinetools.html.