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ATWiki:Web Site Accessibility

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Conformance to Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0

Our web site has undergone an extensive design and development process, including testing by users representing a variety of disabilities and within various environments. The developers of assistivetech.net have worked hard to follow the Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0 (WCAG) established by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). These guidelines explain how to make web content accessible to people with disabilities through Priority 1, Priority 2, and Priority 3 checkpoints. Conformance to the W3C Guidelines helps make web sites accessible to users with disabilities and benefits all users. We have used a variety of methods, described below, to satisfy the two major themes defined in the WC3 Guidelines:

Ensuring Graceful Transformation

We have strived to design and structure assistivetech.net to remain accessible despite any number of constraints, including physical, sensory, and cognitive disabilities, work constraints, and technological barriers by doing the following:

  • Separating structure from presentation. We have ensured that document structural integrity is maintained by including relevant and correctly used: document type definitions, page language attributes, page titles, META tags, table summaries, table elements (headers, columns, rows, cells), heading styles, and content chunked into easily readable paragraphs. We have also used style sheets to achieve most of the visual presentation of text on our site, and have ensured that the site is usable with the style sheets turned off.
  • Providing text and textual equivalents. We have supplied alternative text (ALT tags) for all non-text elements used on the site, in addition to long descriptions (LONGDESC) and links to descriptions for complex non-text elements.
  • Creating documents that work even if the user cannot see and/or hear. We have tested our site on workstations utilizing screen reader technologies such as JAWS. Furthermore, we have tested the site in many operating systems and browser clients. These include text-only browsers such as Lynx and the popular graphic browsers, with various combinations of sounds and images loaded or not loaded. We have also ensured that important information is not conveyed with color, and that foreground and background color combinations provide sufficient contrast.
  • Creating documents that do not rely on one type of hardware. Our pages have been designed and tested to be usable by people without a mouse, with small or low-resolution screens, with only voice or text output, and with alternative keyboards.

Making Content Understandable and Navigable

The developers of assistivetech.net have strived to make all of our content maximally accessible, understandable and navigable. This includes not only making the language clear and simple, but also providing understandable mechanisms for navigating within and between pages. Some methods we have used to do so include:

  • Providing context and orientation information. We have avoided use of frames, and where appropriate and natural, have divided large blocks of information into more manageable groups using nested lists, headings and other elements. In addition, on all of our forms, we have associated labels with their controls.
  • Providing clear navigation mechanisms. We have clearly identified the target of all links, and ensured that linked text is brief and meaningful enough to make sense when read out of context. We have provided metadata to add semantic information to pages and the site. We have provided a site map, accessible from every page, to give our users information about the general layout of our site, and have also (on this page) described in detail our accessibility features. We have consistently provided our users with navigation mechanisms and ways to bypass them, including consistently located:
    • Navigation menu on the left of each page that was designed to reinforce current position in the site structure. For example, the current page is listed as text instead of a link.
    • Header and footer areas containing site map, search, and contact information.
    • Links to directly access information on long pages.
  • Providing search tools and facilitating scanning of information. We have tried to front-load headings and paragraph text, so that users can more easily distinguish and scan information. We have provided four search tools that enable different types of searches for different skill levels and preferences including: function/activity, keyword, product type, and vendor. We also offer a search at the top of each page that will scan this entire website for information on assistive technology products and web resources related to the word or words you enter in the search box.
  • Ensuring that documents are clear and simple. We have tried to use the clearest and simplest language appropriate for the site's content. We have supplemented text with graphic presentations to facilitate better comprehension of the page (no audio has been used). Finally, we have created and used a consistent style of presentation across all pages in the site.