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25 February, 2004

accessibility?

Accessibility? What is that?
I received an email today regarding my website, SillyDog701. It was asking for accessibility statement. No, I don't have that in my website. Then suggested adding keyboard shortcuts for some links on my site.
It was a nice email suggesting me to add something to my website, I haven't received that sort of emails for ages. Most feedbacks (emails) I received are either complaining or asking technical questions which I won't answer through feedback system for a number of reasons. Of course, I receive some nice Thank You feedbacks for my work on Netscape Browser Archive, although this kind of emails are getting less and less.

Okay, back to topic, what the hell is accessibility in websites? I really don't have much idea about it. But I believe it is something to do with making contents (easily) available for all sorts of people, including physically disabled people. So the first thing I guess is not to hide main content in Flash, which I don't. Then to help them easily access all information. Okay, I will work on that when I have time. (No promise on implementation, but I will take a look on this.)

Dear Webmaster,

Just a quick suggestion, since I cannot find it in your accessability
statement... How about adding keyboard shortcuts to some of the links
on your site?

As well as being quite important to disabled people and the elderly,
they also make everything faster and more convenient for everybody
else, too. They have recently been introduced to great critical and
commercial success on Virgin Radio, www.ucsc.edu, the BBFC, and also on
the UK's largest videogame retailer http://shop.game.net

They work on almost all version 5 browsers, and clearly do not
interfere with older (or non html-compliant) ones.

The code is simple enough:
<a href="search.html" accesskey="4">Search</a>

The above produces a link that can be activated by the user pressing
Alt+4 on their keyboard. In theory, any character can be used, but in
practice, most letters cannot be used, since they may interfere with
the browser's own hotkeys for the menus. However, some common numeric
standards are emerging,
for example:
1 Home Page
2 Skip Nav (or What's new)
3 Site Map (or Printer Version)
4 Search
5 FAQ
8 Terms Of Service
9 Feedback
0 Accesskey List

The above scheme is now in use on every UK government and council site,
as well as on healthcare sites, and now also on USA academic sites,
Australian Government sites, and mainland Europe commercial sites.

Something to think about... Currently 15% of the world suffers from a
physical disability (add another 10% if you include visual
difficulties) And companies around the world are spending trillions on
wheelchair access for buildings and carparks, and there are many US, UK
and international laws coming into force to require this (508, and the
Disability Discrimination act is only months away)....

Thanks for listening.

Posted by Antony on 25 February 2004 12:10 PM |

more February 2004 blogs. (or 2004 blogs)
from iTunes Store:
comments
For starters, look here:
http://bobby.watchfire.com/bobby/html/en/advanced.jsp
Posted by Robert Accettura on 28 February 2004 12:40 PM.
This seems to make sense to me. I'm able-bodied and don't care about disabilities, but I live by accesskeys. A lot of UBB forums I visit use Alt+1 as a quick shortcut for the main front page, and this seems to be a standard among lots of other sites. It really speeds things up.
Posted by Rich on 7 October 2006 12:41 AM.
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