Web Accessibility:
Assuring Content Quality and
Accessibility to Maximize
Business Results
Sponsored by:
Silicon Valley WebGuild
Presented by:
Cynthia D. Waddell, HiSoftware Company-Advisory Board Member-Accessibility
Steve Fleming, Human Factors International
13 August 2003
Agenda
I.
Introduction to Accessibility – Defining the Problem
II.
Usability Design Guidelines for Accessibility
III. Content Quality and Accessibility Management
IV.
Developing a Section 508 Strategy - Web sites,
Intranets, and Web based applications
V.
Resources that are available to you
What Is Accessibility?
Ac-ces'-sible
1. That which can be approached or entered
2. That which can be got; obtainable
– True usability for everyone – including those with
disabilities
– Widespread Benefits
 Improve the product for all users
– Fundamental requirement just like:
 Security
 Globalization
 Anti Piracy
 Performance
The Information Superhighway
Since the Internet was founded, it has become an easy
way to publish and locate information.
According to the US Census Bureau, December 1997 U.S.
Census brief, one in five Americans have some kind of
legal disability.
(Source: December 1997 US Census Brief, “Disabilities Affect One-Fifth of all
Americans,” available at www.census.gov/prod/3/97/pubs/cenbr975.pdf.)
Most people use Web browsers like Microsoft® Internet
Explorer; others must also use assistive technologies
with Web browsers:
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Screen readers
Audio browsers
Braille printers
Voice-activation software
Barriers to Access
Users may have:
– Learning difficulties
– Language fluency problems
– Hearing impairment
– Vision impairment
– Dexterity restrictions
– Work area restrictions
– Mobile access, such as in an
automobile
– Disabilities that increase with age
Barriers to Access
Non-target medium
– Computer screen – desktop
CRT or LCD or laptop
computer LCD
– Teletype – a pager, cell
phone, or a text browser
on a regular computer
– Television – WebTV
– Projection systems
– Handheld devices – Palm
computer or Pocket PC
– Printed on paper
Barriers to Access
“Common” devices
– Pagers
– Handheld computers
– Cell phones
Non-Target Browser
What's wrong with this
page?
– Not everyone uses
Microsoft/Netscape
– Other browsers may
show unexpected
anomalies
– The page using Opera 
Interaction Problems
– Scripting, Java, plug-ins, and
cookies don’t work on special
access browsers
– Won’t work with screen reader
– No keyboard equivalent
Assistive Technology (AT)
 The term "assistive technology device" means any
item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether
acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or
customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or
improve functional capabilities of <individuals> with
disabilities.
 From the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
(IDEA), P.L. 101-476, Section 1401 (a) (25).)
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Screen readers
Braille readers
Speech recognition
Screen magnifiers
Assistive Technology (AT): Screen Readers
– Synthesized voice output
– Reads text on screen and keystrokes entered
– Reads icons, menus, punctuation, link/button labels
Assistive Technology (AT): Braille Readers
– Dynamic or refreshable Braille
– Mechanical pins are raised or lowered to display
Braille characters
– Navigate with an up/down key
Assistive Technology (AT): Speech Recognition
– Voice browser input method (speech-to-text)
– Hands-free use
– Used by people with physical disabilities or temporary
injuries
– Hard to get used to it
– Multi-language
Assistive Technology (AT): Screen Magnifiers
– Enlarges screen
– For low-vision people
Design Guidelines for Accessibility
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Content vs. presentation
Text equivalents
Navigation
Links
Pull-down menus
Tables
Movement
Writing style
References:
• Techniques for Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0, W3C Note May 5 1999. w3.org
• Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0, W3C Recommendation May 5 1999. w3.org
• Accessibility Forum, accessibilityforum.org. Worst Case Section 508 Rules.
• Unified Web Site Accessibility Guidelines, trace.wisc.edu
• IBM Accessibility Center Guidelines, www-3.ibm.com, Web Accessibility Checklist
Content vs. Presentation
– First decide what the content will be
– THEN design an accessible presentation
Text Equivalents
 Text is accessible to almost all users.
 Provide text or ALT tabs to describe:
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Complex pages or elements
Images
Photographs
Graphical button labels
Auditory content
Multimedia
Applets
Links within image maps
Invisible layout images
Any text images
Symbols
Animation
Navigation
 Help users create a “mental map” of the site structure.
 Navigation should be consistent and predictable.
 Provide orientation information: Describe navigation
with text.
 Provide search and site map.
– Link text must
be informative
– Group similar links,
and provide a
descriptive header
for the group
Links
– Mental model is created via links
– Must be descriptive
– Must make sense out of context
Pull-Down Menus (and Cascading Menus)
 Concise and literal labels
 Selections in logical order or alphabetical order
 First letter navigation (shortcuts)
 No automatic re-direct to a new page when an item is
selected
 Cascading menus are not accessible to screen readers,
and may require mouse (inaccessible to some
physically disabled users).
Tables
– Very problematic for screen readers
– Hard for disabled user to remember column and row
headers when “reading” column 5, row 9
– Provide summaries and descriptions
– Use column and row headers
– Make line by line reading sensible
Movement
– Very problematic for users with cognitive challenges
– Inaccessible to most screen readers
– Until users are able to turn off movement, do not use
movement on pages
– Avoid:
 Blinking
 Flashing
 Scrolling marquees
 Auto-updating
– Provide text equivalents that are synchronized to the
movement
Writing Style
Suggestions to make content easier to read for everyone:
– Informative and accurate headings, link titles, button labels
– Inverted pyramid: State topic at beginning of article
– Front loading: State topic at beginning of paragraph
– Limit each paragraph to one idea
– Consistent page layout
– Easy-to-understand content (clear and simple)
– Avoid slang, jargon
– Favor commonly used words
– Active voice
– Avoid complex sentence structures and unusual displays of
text
An Introduction to Content Quality Management
The Internet age has revolutionized how organizations
communicate, publish and find information. While this
technology has created new opportunities for global
communication and commerce, it has also created new
challenges in content policy management.
The volume of information available through organizational
Web sites, Intranets, Extranets and Networks, via multiple
entry points, provided by multiple content contributors, in
multiple forms and languages, has increased dramatically.
Web content management is a critical component of any
successful online business strategy.
Defining the Problem
Many organizations have fallen prey to the exponential growth
of electronic information because their documents are scattered
about individual PC's, workgroups, and entire enterprises with
little or no controls in place to monitor content for compliance
with corporate standards for Accessibility, Privacy, Searchability
and Usability.
When these standards can be structured and implemented they
have great value. However, implementing a solution to
accomplish this task has been cost-prohibitive to most
organizations.
Designing the Solution
Content quality testing solutions should provide a
combination of user-driven interactive desktop solutions that
allow developers to test their content for conformance with
standards, and server side applications that allow for
automated and remote testing.
They should also provide a comprehensive interface for
testing content against standards for Accessibility,
searchability and any custom content quality factor, allowing
an organization’s experts and/or policy managers to define
content policies and then provide a solution to validate
compliance with these policies.
Keep up with ever-changing Web technologies and
standards
Users should be able to:
– Test for Accessibility & Usability: Section 508,
WCAG 1.0, WCAG 2.0, CLF, XAG & any standard
derived from WCAG or Section 508
– Test for compliance with custom guidelines and
policies for all content including but not limited to:
HTML, XHTML, SVG, XML and any other text or
element based content
– Accomplish Custom validation for: CSS, XSL, SVG,
JavaScript, VBScript, and other text or element
based content
Site Quality Factors
Accessibility and Usability
Searchability
Privacy and Exposure
Site Quality-User Experience
Site Quality-Broken Links
Metadata Policy
Custom Checks-Corporate Standards
Accessibility and Usability
Accessibility requirements are changing over
time so training becomes a challenge. Because
of these challenges, organizations need an easyto-use yet complete accessibility testing solution
that is up to date with all standards and that can
work on web documents wherever they are
found!
Searchability
Content Managers should be able to validate
content for proper quality as related to
searchability, based on practical and accepted
indexing guidelines. Indexed Internet, extranet,
intranet or any other location of content
determines content relevance when requested
by a search mechanism. This could be an
internal search engine or public search engine
such as AltaVista, MSN, Google, etc...
Privacy and Exposure
Adhering to privacy legislation is quickly
becoming a top concern for companies around
the globe. Example legislation worldwide:
– The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999
– The Health Insurance Portability and
Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA)
– The Children's Online Privacy Protection Act of
1998 (COPPA)
– The European Union Data Protection Directive of
1998
– Custom Corporate Policy Guidelines
Site Quality-User Experience
Validate content specific site quality factors that
can attribute to poor functionality of a site
and/or poor user experience if not corrected,
such as:
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Slow Loading Pages/Max File Size
Missing or Repeated Title Elements in HTML
Repetitive Anchor Text Errors
NOSCRIPT Missing Error Report
Links to All Specific File Types other then HTML
Link Report to all Data Tables in Web Site
Site Quality-Bad, Missing or Error Generating Links
Content Managers should be able to create a
complete “Site Inventory” for a better
understanding of their Web sites with
information on site size, file types in use, mail
links, and identify where you may be linking to
third party sites.
Broken links and missing images can create a
negative experience for users of a Web site. As
Web sites increase in size, it becomes
increasingly difficult to keep an accurate
inventory of content that has been changed over
time.
Custom Checks-Corporate Standards
Custom checks allow users to ensure that
diverse document authors create and maintain
content that meets with the “common look and
feel” for the corporate Web presence, and that
all content complies with organizational
standards and policies.
Accessibility Standards for the Web
Section 508, Subpart B, §1194.22
Part of the Rehabilitation Act Amendments of
1998
Published by the U.S. Access Board
Web Content Accessibility Guidelines
Created by the W3C®, or World Wide Web
Consortium
Guidelines have been assigned Priority Levels
“Priority 1” guidelines are essential for
accessibility
Introduction to Section 508
In 1998, Congress amended the Rehabilitation Act to
require Federal agencies to make their electronic and
information technology accessible to people with
disabilities. Inaccessible technology interferes with an
individual's ability to obtain and use information quickly
and easily.
Section 508
Section 508 was enacted to eliminate barriers in
information technology, to make available new
opportunities for people with disabilities, and to
encourage development of technologies that will
help achieve these goals. The law applies to all
Federal agencies when they develop, procure,
maintain, or use electronic and information
technology.
In plain English . . .
 Federal employees have equal access to office
systems and information.
 People in the general public have equal access to
government information.
 Section 508 (PL 105-220, 1998 HR 1385)
requires
that Federal agencies' electronic and information
technology is accessible to people with
disabilities, including employees and members of
the public.
Section 508-Impact on Industry
 Forrester Research-December 2001-”Design
Accessible Now”
 Few 3,500 Global Sites accessible to users with
disabilities
 Compelling-National Captioning Institute Found 53%
of hearing-impaired users take extra effort to buy
from brands that support captioning and 38% will
change their favorite brands to do so
 Increased productivity in work place-Reducing
barriers for telecommuters-State Street advisors found
employees print out transcripts of audio and video
training to use while telecommuting
Act Now-Firms with online commitment and
Government ties
 Technology, travel and financial firms
 Telecom, Retail and Media Firms-$175 billion in
discretionary income controlled by consumers with
disabilities
 B2B less urgency-exception is innovators pushing
massive amounts of business online
 Average cost-$160,00- for retrofit versus $60,000 if
front-loaded into new design or complete redesign
Improving the Web for everyone
 Accessibility laws are making Web-based information
user-friendly for all users. Compliance with these
standards, not only assists users of assistive
technologies, but also can improve access to the Web
for hand-held, wireless devices.
 These laws are based on best practices for Web
authoring and information technology. While many of
the laws directly benefit users with disabilities who
might rely on assistive technologies to view
information, the laws benefit everyone.
Why you should build accessible
Developers often ask, “Why should our site and
applications be accessible?” Aside from any legal or
statutory requirements, the answer to this question is
simple - offering equal access to disabled users is
compelling, and for many reasons:
 Build your user base
 Take a position of leadership in your particular business
sector
 Grow your loyal customer base
 The cost of retro-fitting is much higher than building an
accessible site from scratch
 It simply makes good business sense to increase the
number of your potential customers
 It is the right thing to do at a minimal cost
It is cheaper to do it right the first time
 Organizations that include accessibility management
as
part of their development plans and quality assurance
and testing practices will have a tremendous economic
advantage.
 The cost of Retrofitting a Web site for accessibility can
be as much as ten times the cost of designing an
accessible site from the ground up.
Designing Accessible versus Retrofitting
 When you incorporate accessibility into your designyou can leverage verification and repair solutions to
work along side of your content creation tools.
 Quality assurance and testing tools can also utilize
accessibility testing solutions to integrate accessibility
into the defect tracking methodologies you are already
using for managing your performance.
 Accessibility assurance can be integrated into the test
processes for dynamic Web applications and Web sites.
Standards Are the Key to Interoperability
 Interoperability and device independence on the Web can
only be met following strict standards for content creation,
page coding, presentation, and interaction.
 Use standard published document type definitions for
coding pages in HTML and XHTML.
 Validate the code using online or in-house SGML parsers to
check for errors.
 Use cross-platform standardized scripting such as
ECMAScript, and deviate from that only to handle special
problems.
About HiSoftware
HiSoftware’s solutions empower organizations to create
and manage corporate standards for Accessibility,
Usability, Searchability, Privacy Policy and custom quality
factors.
HiSoftware’s solutions enable organizations to quickly
and efficiently build, deploy, and maintain highly
dynamic, accessible, usable and searchable Web sites
regardless of content, type, format, or location.
HiSoftware's Proven Solutions for content test and
management dramatically reduce the time required to
test, manage and deploy e-business Web sites.
Developing a Strategy for Content quality
A Content quality and accessibility strategy should give
you the ability to view policy implementation from a
project management perspective. This will enable you to:
 Allocate resources appropriately
 Track site progress
 Identify problem areas
 Integrate content quality into your Quality Assurance
and content delivery processes
 Keep a historical view of your Web site work.
Software Tools
AccVerify
Verifies Web site policy compliance
-Desktop solution
AccRepair
Verifies policy compliance and makes Wizard-guided repairs to Web content
-Desktop solution
AccMonitor
Verifies policy compliance for live Web files and Repairs files through file
management system
-Automated server solution with Web based interface and platform independent
verification
Cynthia Says
www.cynthiasays.com
The Web Project Life Cycle
Incorporating Content quality into the project
– Develop a policy for creation, validation
and monitoring of content that complies
with policies
– Educate-all members of the team
– Empower the developers and QA team
with testing tools
– Empower Web Managers and
administrators with tools to monitor the
effective implementation of the policy
The Voluntary Product Accessibility Template
The IT Industry Council has developed a form called a
Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT.) This
form is a self-certification that allows software vendors
to identify the accessibility components of their software
applications, and to provide that information to their
customers.
Software companies should be able to provide you with
their voluntary product accessibility statement. This will
give you a good idea whether or not the software is
accessible. Remember it is your responsibility to verify
that the solution is accessible.
Conclusions
 Your Web Sites are an easy way to reach millions of
visitors-if they are accessible to those visitors.
 Your Web Sites communicates important branding
information about your company and company
philosophy.
 Accessibility is the right thing to do and can be easily
implemented into your existing development
strategies.
 Accessibility makes your sites available to everyone
not only the disabled.
 If you are conducting e-commerce across your Web
Sites than you may be losing an important customers
base.
“Understanding Accessibility”
 HiSoftware has recently published a book
"Understanding Accessibility" (ISBN - 1-930616-03-1).
This book, is a guide to creating and testing Web sites
that are developed to the U.S. federal standards for
accessible Web content, and the World Wide Web, or
W3C, accessibility guidelines.
 HiSoftware Publishing is currently in the process of
developing the second edition of the book, which will
address WCAG 1.0 guidelines Priority 1, 2, and 3 as well
as Canadian, European and world wide accessibility
guidelines. This second edition will be available as print
media.
 If you would like to download a copy of the eBook,
please visit our site at:
http://www.hisoftware.com/msacc/regbook.htm
Contact information
HiSoftware Company
www.hisoftware.com
Dana Simberkoff
[email protected]
888-272-2484 (toll free US and
Canada)
+1-603-229-3055
Human Factors
www.humanfactors.com
Steve Fleming
[email protected]
+1-415-765-0963
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