Category Archives: Web Accessibility

This category of posts is reserved for web accessibility topics only. This category is for legal, coding, programming, design, guidelines, and other features that would enable people to use WordPress.com. Items posted here may be tutorial in nature even though they are not posted under the tutorial category.

Web Accessibility: Providing Descriptive Titles for Web Pages

The objective of this technique is to give each Web page a descriptive title. Descriptive titles help users find content, orient themselves within it, and navigate through it. A descriptive title allows a user to easily identify what Web page they are using and to tell when the Web page has changed.
W3C Working Group Note

Having a descriptive title for web pages is vital for many reasons, but according to the W3C Working Group Note, it is especially important in regards to web accessibility practices and guidelines.

Continue reading Web Accessibility: Providing Descriptive Titles for Web Pages

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Web Accessibility: Headings and Section Titles

According to Wikipedia, Web Accessibility refers to the inclusive practice of removing barriers that prevent access to websites by people with disabilities. When sites are correctly designed, developed and edited, all users have equal access to information and functionality.

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is an international community whose mission is to lead the Web to its full potential. They have published Four Principles of Accessibility: Perceivable, Operable, Understandable, and Robust (POUR). You can read more about those standards and you can contact W3C directly for more information. Continue reading Web Accessibility: Headings and Section Titles

Web Accessibility: Preparing for Older Web Users

We are all aging. That’s an undeniable fact. In the 2013 United Nations World Population Aging report their studies showed that every country in the world is experiencing a shift to a larger population of older citizens. Generally this happens when mortality rates decrease and fertility rates decline.

In other words less people die and less people are born. That changes the ratio of young people to older people and creates what is known as an aging population.

In this article we are going to define senior populations as being 65 years and older though this number is being debated around the world. Continue reading Web Accessibility: Preparing for Older Web Users

Web Accessibility: Small Flashing Objects and Text

The criteria for presenting small flashing objects and text on a web page varies depending upon the reference you use when it comes to defining what amount of flashing and moving is permitted on the web within the web accessibility laws. Of course, this changes depending upon which country’s laws are being followed as well.

The important point to consider is that you don’t let small flashing objects flash faster than 3 times per second. According to W3C.org:

The criterion is 25% of any 10 degree visual field, any single flashing event on a screen (there is no other flashing on a screen) that is smaller than a contiguous area of 21,824 sq pixels (any shape), would pass the General and Red Flash Thresholds.

Small Object Sized

That is an image the size of 341 x 246 pixels. The definition of a “general flash” or a “red flash” are defined below in the threshold definition by WCAG 2.0 Recommendation as:

a flash or rapidly changing image sequence is below the threshold (i.e., content passes) if any of the following are true:

  • there are no more than three general flashes and / or no more than three red flashes within any one-second period; or
  • the combined area of flashes occurring concurrently occupies no more than a total of .006 steradians within any 10 degree visual field on the screen (25% of any 10 degree visual field on the screen) at typical viewing distance

Squizlabs’ HTML_CodeSniffer describes this as:

The definition of small enough is given as “25% of any 10 degree visual field on the screen… at typical viewing distance”. This size, therefore, depends on the screen size, resolution, and viewing distance. The higher the resolution or screen size, the larger the permitted area.

Objects that flash and blink on the web page run the risk of initiating optically-induced seizures in visitors. According to WebAIM, no element should flash at a rate of 2 flashes per 55 cycles per second.  Using their 508 checklist, one or more elements that flicker on a page that does not meet this criteria is considered to fail, and will put someone at risk who is sensitive of optically-induced seizures.

W3C Recommendation 2.3.1 states that:

Three Flashes or Below Threshold: web pages do not contain anything that flashes more than three times in any one second period.

The intent is to reduce the chance of seizures since some people are sensitive to flashing on screens. This includes people with photosensitive epilepsy as well as photosensitive seizure disorders.

W3C goes on to further explain this is detail so that a writer could fully understand how critical it is to make sure accessibility standards are met. The other resources all show that optical seizures are the main reason why that this criteria is maintained. These sources differ in the timing of the flashing time limit but they agree about the results. So whatever source you choose consider your reader.

The web standards for moving and flashing text for web accessibility are found in Section 508 1194.22 (i), WCAG 1.0 A 7.1, and WCAG 2.0 A 2.3.1.

References and Resources

Web Accessibility: Color and Pattern

The usage of color and patterns in web design is often referred to as the “fun” part of design. Picking colors is great, right? Of course it is, but unfortunately what a lot of people don’t seem to realize is that there is a lot more to your design than just what colors and patterns to use. They need to be carefully considered, in order to make your design accessible to all users of the web.
Continue reading Web Accessibility: Color and Pattern

Web Accessibility: Links

When you click a link on a website, what is that link? What is it made of? The W3schools website defines a link as “a link between a document and an external resource.” A link is basically an established relationship between one document (HTML, CSS, etc.) and another. A link is one of the many roads to travel on the World Wide Web.

While links are easy to include in a Post or Page, they are too easy. In fact, it is not hard to overlook a very important part of links: web accessibility. According to the W3C Web Accessibility Initiative, web accessibility is defined as an initiative to help “people with disabilities” navigate, use, and contribute to the web. Despite the fact that the initiative is mainly for people with disabilities, web accessibility also helps people without disabilities:

Web accessibility also benefits people without disabilities. For example, a key principle of Web accessibility is designing Web sites and software that are flexible to meet different user needs, preferences, and situations. This flexibility also benefits people without disabilities in certain situations, such as people using a slow Internet connection, people with “temporary disabilities” such as a broken arm, and people with changing abilities due to aging.
W3C Web Accessibility Initiative

Continue reading Web Accessibility: Links

Web Accessibility: Video Captioning

Video Captioning Photo - From WebAim.com

Video Captioning allows the content of web audio and video to be accessible for those with disabilities. It can also be useful for those who are not fluent in a language in which the audio is presented. Video Captioning is not only essential for people to understand your content, but it’s also required by law. Continue reading Web Accessibility: Video Captioning

Web Accessibility: Links in Context

The purpose of each link can be determined from the link text alone or from the link text together with its programmatically determined link context, except where the purpose of the link would be ambiguous to users in general.
W3 – Links in Content – Web Accessibility

When creating links into your text, you want to be able to allow the reader to know the purpose of the link as well as where it may lead them.  Some examples include: Continue reading Web Accessibility: Links in Context

WordPress Accessibility: How to Convince a Client to Practice Web Accessibility

Accessibility image showing a ear, eye, hand, and brain.The web should be open and accessible to everyone. Unfortunately, accommodations aren’t always made for those who have a disability or other condition that makes using the web difficult.

If you have a client that hosts a website or blog using WordPress, you should really encourage them to be stepping up to make their website accessible to people who have a variety of conditions.

The Web is used now more than ever to access data, education, employment, healthcare, commerce, and a plethora of other roles that have to be easily and readily accessible to people with disabilities. It’s important to note why clients should take accessibility to heart. Continue reading WordPress Accessibility: How to Convince a Client to Practice Web Accessibility

Web Accessibility: Images

When publishing images on WordPress, it is important to make the images accessible to everyone. However, what does it mean to make a web page accessible to everyone, including the images?

In the article “American Disabilities Act (ADA) Lawsuits Rising against Website Accessibility” on ClarkWP, Michelle Clark brings the perspective of the importance of a properly published image into view. She shared a number of lawsuits against Internet websites because of their negligence to accommodate those with disabilities, stating that the law isn’t very clear when it comes to website accessibility because of its fast changing nature. However, website owners are responsible to make websites comply with a list of ADA standards. Continue reading Web Accessibility: Images