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Are Accessibility Statements Useful? : Comments

By Leona Tomlinson

November 12, 2008

Comments

John Faulds

November 12, 2008 2:50 AM

If you do feel that the link to your accessibility page belongs in the footer, to make it easier to find for the people who need it, include it in your skip links at the top of the page.

patrick h. lauke

November 15, 2008 6:13 PM

“The accessibility link is often placed outside the main viewing area of the web page such as within the footer area […] screen reader user would have to listen to excessive content before encountering the link”

but then again, if it is fairly standard for these links to be in the footer, screen reader users can also jump directly to the footer if they encounter problems. screen reading is not a passive experience, where users just sit back and let the page read out linearly from top to bottom.

“Additionally, for keyboard only users, the location of the accessibility link can result in excessive key presses in order to select and then activate the link.”

again, unless they know that it’s at the bottom, and they reverse-tab to it from the start of the document.

“Make the accessibility link prominent […] Ensure the link is within the main viewing area”

unfortunately, that more often than not clashes with marketing and design/branding objectives, so unless the client is keen on the topic, it’s unrealistic.

“Whilst we can promote the inclusion of accessibility statements through guidance documentation and articles such as this one, I believe that with so many websites on the internet today we have reached the point where standardization is necessary. Possible routes could be to make accessibility information a requirement of Section 508 and the W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines”

personally, i’m very ambivalent about this issue. in an ideal world, sites should simply be accessible in a standardised way, without the need to explain to the users that they indeed are. also, i’m not sure if each site out there should explain to users how their browsers work, how they can change their settings (a la MyWebMyWay) etc…should every site come with a manual?

raena

November 17, 2008 4:52 PM

also, i’m not sure if each site out there should explain to users how their browsers work, how they can change their settings (a la MyWebMyWay) etc…should every site come with a manual?

Absolutely not! but maybe something like Browse Happy could be set up that explains it all for the punters. That way you can just link to said lovely site. And no I don’t mean linking to the RNIB or something. It should be a dedicated site just about things you can do.

raena

November 17, 2008 4:55 PM

I mean, there’s no reason why you can’t use My Web My Way although some people might get a bit weirded out about the idea of being sent ‘to the bbc’.

Richard Morton

November 18, 2008 3:57 AM

I’m not against accessibility statements but I think that the quality of the majority of statements I have seen is very poor. Because of this it gives a bad name to the whole concept of an accessibility statement. To give an idea of what I mean, a statement saying “This website has been tested and works with IE6.0, IE7.0, Firefox 2.0, etc” is not really of any help to anyone.

patrick h. lauke

November 18, 2008 5:39 PM

some people might get a bit weirded out about the idea of being sent ‘to the bbc’

absolutely. in fact, i suggested setting this up as a separate standalone site to jonathan hassell, head of ux and accessibility at the bbc, ages ago…but it appears that, for various reasons, the beeb and/or abilitynet wouldn’t be happy about it.

i also tried to contact abilitynet on various occasions to ask if portions of their content could be used under some creative commons attribution license, but have received nothing back from them…

our license money hard at work :)

Jojo Esposa

November 20, 2008 7:54 PM

Hello there!

Great article! I am happy to inform you that aside from UK’s PAS78, the Philippines is the only country in Asia that included accessibility statement or instructions as part of our recommendation. The Philippine Web Accessibility Group is the one leading the way in promoting accessibility in our sphere. We have our own set of recommendations which would soon become the Philippine standard. We have 19 checkpoints which is a lot easier to comply unlike the WCAG. We divided them into chunks called Maturity Stages with our final goal is WCAG’s compliance.

Our top recommendation is to have “Accessibility statements” on every website in order for our visually impaired users to “view” the look and feel of the site.

PWAG’s Web Design Accessibility Recommendation (WDAR):
http://www.pwag.org/designrecommendations.htm

Comparison between PWDAR, Section 508 and WCAG 1.0:
http://www.pwag.org/comparepwag-508-wcag1.htm

Thanks! :-)

Andrea Hill

November 23, 2008 8:26 PM

I’ve heard both sides of the argument for and against Accessibility statements. Your article raised some great points about how a statement should best be written to be valuable for a reader.

Some of the negatives I’ve heard are moreso related to “sticking your neck out”. Stating that a website adheres to certain standards or guidelines means, well, that it better adhere to them! An organization may be more comfortable either stating that they will strive to provide an optimized experience (nothing verifiable), or indeed not make any statement at all!
My personal recommendation is that it is better to say something than nothing at all, to show that accessibility is at the least being considered.

Stuart Hopper

December 2, 2008 5:32 AM

I think that accessibility needs to be targeted towards the mainstream and once this is acheived I very much believe the link to the page should be in the first few lines of code. I think that that accessibility as a concept isn’t very accessible to the mainstream. Whilst almost everyone, at some point, would benefit from accessibility features, ask the average person what acessibility is and they wouldn’t have the foggiest. It needs rebranding as ‘HELP’ if you ask me. And people should be aware that this information is relevant to them, and that this information SHOULD be available to them. We as designers have been far too assuming of the competency of the average user far too long.

Nick Finck

December 2, 2008 9:02 AM

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