Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Blog Accessibility

WebXACT logoI’ve tested my blog at WebXACT, a free site that allows web developers and users to test a webpage accessibility issues.

After scanning a webpage, WebXACT provides an extensive report, which is divided into 4 categories: general, quality, accessibility, and privacy. This report helped me to identify numerous accessibility issues on my blog. However, if I decide to get the full report results, I will have to purchase the Watchfire’s products like WebXM and WebQA .

In my opinion, the free report is still very useful. Based on this report, I’ve outlined important accessibility issues that every web developer should keep in mind.

1. Have title, author, description, and keyword information under the metadata.

2. Don't have broken links and anchors.

3. Pay attention to the “page click depth.” Try to post important information on the first page, don’t hide it on secondary pages. Visitors get frustrated when information buried on the “deep pages.”
4. Create link phrases. Don’t use phrases like "click here;" a user browsing the Web with a screen reader will have to read the surrounding text to determine the purpose of the link.

5. Do not use the same link phrase more than once when the links point to different URLs.

6. All images should provide an alternative text. For an image, a chart, table, or diagram, it is necessary to provide a detailed description. Blogger does not have an option to insert the alternative text, so I have to remember to add ALT description in HTML view.

7. Check the contrast between the foreground and background colors.

8. Synchronized text captions are required so that hearing impaired users and visually impaired users can follow an audio-visual presentation.

9. Ensure that pages are always readable and usable, even if style sheets are ignored or unsupported by a browser.

10. Inform the user if your link opens a pop-up window.

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