jQuery: Accessible search toggle

This is an update to a post I wrote four years ago to make an accessible search toggle using Javascript. Since then Javascript libraries such as jQuery have become popular, so it makes sense to bring this post up-to-date. Continue reading

Autoplay is bad for all users

Translations: Belorussian and Polish

Autoplay is a bad idea not just for accessibility but for usability and general sanity while browsing. This article will explain what the problems are, where to find backup for arguments and what you can do if autoplay is a must have. Continue reading

Super quick overview of WCAG 2.0

The W3C released the Candidate Recommendation of the WCAG 2.0 at the end of last month. Since then there have been numerous posts on this fact, but nothing up-to-date on the guidelines themselves. I haven’t really seen anything new since a draft version I first started looking at in July last year. Here is my super quick overview of the documentation and guidelines – and by super quick I mean just that, there is no specific detail walk through of each success criterion. Continue reading

Free JAWS Demonstration

Job Access With Speech

On Monday I went to a demonstration of JAWS screen-reader, that I had heard about through The Web Standards Group discussion list a few weeks ago. It was presented by Steve Green, the director of Test Partners who provide manual testing services (functionality, compatibility and accessibility). Steve had enlisted the help of John (registered blind), who I believe is usually involved in the testing of their clients’ websites/applications, to be the “screen-reader user”.

I found the session extremely interesting and learnt a lot from it. The main thing I wanted to come away with was how to use JAWS myself and to understand how a vision-impaired user would go about browsing a website. Continue reading

Accessible Radio Buttons/Checkboxes

Take a straight forward question that is usually asked during any online sign-up form:

Gender:

It is marked up according to the WCAG Priority 2 checkpoint 12.4 that says you should associate labels explicitly with their controls (i.e. by using the label element).

<input type="radio" id="male" name="gender" />
<label for="male">Male</label>

However, I want to explicitly link the original question (gender) with the 2 possible answers and this isn’t possible using the label element because there can be only one label and one control per line. There are a couple of solutions. Continue reading

Quick Tip: JAWS and Enlarged Icons

This is quite a specific tip, but one that caused me quite a bit of frustration.

The Problem

Each time I run the JAWS screen-reader software (version 7.0) on Windows XP, it nearly doubles the size of some icons on the screen. The ones that you find next to the clock in the taskbar, the quick-launch icons and also the small icon in the top left-hand corner of each window. They remain enlarged even when you exit JAWS and the computer restarted.

I’m not sure if this is a bug in JAWS or just something it should be doing to help users (I’m pretty sure it’s a bug). I can’t find any other documentation on why it would happen, only a couple of other users with the same problem in JAWS 6.0, who were trying to find a solution. Continue reading

Google: Accessible Search

Google recently unveiled it’s Accessible Search, which prioritises the search results to favour pages that are more easily used by partially-sighted and blind users. Good work, but it was too much to expect that they would listen to their own advice and ensure their own pages conformed to any standards or took account of any accessibility guidelines. Continue reading

My Accessibility Testing Tools

Recently I was asked how I go about testing the accessibility of a website, something I have only done seriously for a few months. I use a combination of checklists, tools and common sense to draw up a document that explains where things are going wrong and provides guidance or tips to correct the problems.

Here I discuss the tools of my trade with advice thrown in for free. Continue reading

JavaScript: Accessible Search Toggle

This post is now out-of-date. Please refer to jQuery accessible search toggle instead.

To use a script in a way that ensures users without JavaScript get the same functionality as users with it enabled means it is accessible. It doesn’t necessarily mean the same user experience, but both must be able to view the same information. An example of this is using a script to open a new window to show some extra information: with script disabled the user should be able to view the same information, but within the same window.

Toggle via Radio Buttons

I want to allow the user to search within all sections of a website or to search within one or more chosen groups. The list should only be visible when the user selects that they want to choose groups. To do this I am going to use 2 radio buttons to toggle the unordered list of sections on and off. Continue reading

WCAG: Relative and Absolute Units

WCAG Accessibility Checkpoints

The WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) 1.0, Priority 2 Checkpoint 3.4, states that you should:

Use relative rather than absolute units in markup language attribute values and style sheet property values

View the checkpoint

Originally I thought this meant that anywhere a font size, width or height was mentioned I only had the option of use ems or percentages. Then this seemed to be saying to me to design all sites using a liquid layout, which was strange as people were always saying that the guidelines do not dictate design. Continue reading