I can see it….sort of
But I can’t get to it!
Is this frustrating? You bet your sweet potato it is!
We want to share the information love. Free information is our mantra and ‘Library Week’ is our yearly Woodstock.However when it comes to online information, the way we design and build our resources may inadvertently make us the opposite. The architecture and design of our online information resources can have a significant impact upon its accessibility, with the worst case scenario that it is entirely inaccessible to users. As we are modern information professionals, not the ‘sssh-ing’ gatekeepers of yester-year, this needs to stop! (However, as a side note, I wholeheartedly encourage the traditional love of cardigans to remain.)
There are some key things you can do to ensure that your content is accessible to ALL of your users. To throw another piece of information-hippy-speak I want us all to make information love not war.
Web accessibility, what it is and why it’s important
“Web accessibility is an approach to web design that aims for maximum inclusion, both in terms of people who use web sites, and the technologies that are utilised in the process.”(1) Given the prominence of the online realm in all aspects of society, ensuring that content is accessible to everyone is vitally important. Not being able to access information because of a disability is not only frustrating it also serves to further the information divide.
The primary developer of web accessibility standards and guidelines is The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). Led by the inventor of the Internet, Tim Berners-Lee and W3C CEO, Jeffrey Jaffe, the organization has developed standards (or recommendations) with respect to:
• Combinations of these (3)
Key elements of web accessibility
So what at the actual guidelines? All the W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 are available at http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG20/ .
Before you ‘attack’ the guidelines and get your accessibility on, here’s an overview of the guidelines.
The guidelines operate with four overarching goals – to make information:
Now these are broad overarching goals. To guide you along the path to web accessibility under every principle there are guidelines. These guidelines are followed by more specific (and tangible) success criteria including techniques for compliance. This success criteria is graded – at what is sufficient (good) or advisory (best).
– By providing controls to users such as text resizing, audio control, customizable visual presentation including text, background colour etc.
– Any videos or interactive activities allow sufficient opportunities for people with any disability to be able to read/digest the information.
The content must be capable of being read and interpreted by a range of future assistive technologies.
There is also additional guidance to help you comply with the guidelines on the w3c website at http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG20/
I solemnly swear…
After reading post on web accessibility I, [awesome Informed Librarian] solemnly swear to:
– To create online content that is to the best of my abilities and technological limitations compliant with WC3 guidelines
(1) Dey Alexander, How accessible are Australian University websites? < http://ausweb.scu.edu.au/aw03/papers/alexander3/paper.html> as at 13 May 2015.
(2) W3C Consortium, About W3C (2015) <http://www.w3.org/Consortium/> as at 11 May 2015.
(3) W3C Consortium, Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 < http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG20/> as at 14 May 2015.