[Accessibleweb] Minutes of June 28 AccessibleWeb@U meeting

Rick Ells rells at u.washington.edu
Fri Jun 29 16:50:05 PDT 2007

Presentation: Building a Habit: Using an Accessibility Mindset in Web
Speaker: Christine Tawato, Web Developer, School of Law

- PowerPoint is available at

- The School of Law site has gone through multiple
interations since it was first converted to standards
methods in 2003.
- Accessibility means providing better access to EVERYONE
- Provide content to a variety of user who use different
- Browser versions
- styles/scripts/images/media on or off
- Screen resolution / window size
- Screen reader or other assistive technologies
- Develop with FireFox
- The adjust to work with other browsers
- Extensive testing
- Site is fluid
- test with various font sizes
- Web Standards = Better Access
- Separate content from presentation
- Allows content providers to focus solely on content
- Standards provide access
- Using markup to provide metadata versus presentation
- Better search rankings
- Accessibility from the outset
- Creating accessible content
- provide content with structure
- meaningful link text
- as much as possible, provide alt text for non-textual
content (images, audio, video,
- Accessible design
- Be conscious of
- File sizes
- content order
- accessible/consistent navigation
- flexibility of text size, element positioning
- no dependency on scripting, CSS, or media
- few, if any, hacks
- Provide an alternative stylesheet for IE6
- Comparing Law School Homepages
- Law School site has gone through changes
- staff changes
- new branding
- refresh content/images
- introduce Flash media
- Now have Web developer who is a Flash expert
- Clean up navigation / usability
- 2000-2003 Home page
- Table based design
- 2003-2005 First standards based design
- Done by Kathy Keithley
- Stuff quickly accumulated, making design unclear
- 2005-2007
- Liquid design (percentage widths), new branding, dynamic
content, Flash images
- Current
- Just changed to new template, new branding
- Fixed width on home page, consistent nav, Flash, cleaning
up arrangements
- Flash runs off of XML file point to a collection of images
and links
- When flash is turned off, see a list of links with an image
- Multimedia & Accessibility
- Flash animations embedded using javascript with noscript
- .wmv and mp3 downloads
- Providing alternate content for publicly available
audio/video files
- Working on providing full transcripts
- UWTV also does transcripts and captioning
- http://castingwords.com/ - have not tried them
- Plan to embed captions in videos
- Tools we use
- Dreamweaver - very good CSS support
- Visual Studio 2005
- ASP.NET development
- Accessibilty/XHTML validation
- FireFox and IE Web Developer Toolbars
- http://addons.mozilla.com/en-US/firefox/addon/60
- Discussion
- Develop and test on FireFox to the standards
- To lawyers the laws are fluid, there are no blacks and
whites, so they did not really have a strong
commitment to accessibility, but they have been
supportive of the effort to be accessible.
- The web developers just say this is why we consider
accessibility, it is important to the Law School
- Accessibility has been inherent in thinking from the
- Stressing to people providing content that
accessibility is important, providing structured
content is easier is easier for people
doing content - they do not have to think
about presentation.
- Site is always changing and improving, standards makes it
easier to adapt
- Have a goal of designing site to degrade fairly well,
so that it works well with most any browser
- Transcripts are helpful to everyone - people often do not
want to sit and watch a video. With a transcript you can
scan the text, do text searches, etc.
- Many sites go for whizzbang, but do not have time to go
back through and fix problems.
- Course pages are maintained by a pool of secretaries,
separate from the Web site.
- Content Management Systems
- Plone users are planning on starting up meetings
among people interested in Plone
- School of Law looking at SharePoint for some purposes
- Needs are constantly changing
- Microformats
- Dylan Wilbanks has been experimenting with microformats
- Tantek Celik first dreamed up microformats
- Lots of repeated code on the Web, such as contact
- if we could come up with a way of marking these
up in a consistent way, then they could be more
machine readable
- Would be helpful to accessibility
- The Semantic Web is the direction we should all be
moving in
- Dylan is converting office directory and calendar
to microformats
- Everything is in XML anyway
- Be nice to be able to export it to the different
- Currently its hard enough to get people to put
their content in once
- People definitely do not want to enter things
twice or thrice
- When do you have to think about accessibility
- What if you are supporting a service, that is
not going to be used much by disabled
- Utilitarian principle, the greatest good for the greatest
number, does not apply. Instead we are focusing on
creating an inclusive playing field for those who have
contributed taxes, paid fees, or are on our staff.
- Building on standards creates an accessible site because
adaptive technology is written to be able to interact with
standards-based, structured, semantic content
- A gathering of standards Web developers
- Rick is interesting in have an informal gathering of
UW XHTML/CSS Web designers to explore how we could
work together and better support each other.
- Possible format for initial meeting with be a
tips & tricks presentations followed by an open
discussion on what to do next.
- Rick will look into putting together an event in
mid or late August.

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