An ‘online book’ setting out the first seven steps that any website owner or developer should take towards making their site accessible to people with disabilities was unveiled last month by the OneVoice for Accessible ICT Coalition, an umbrella group of accessibility and technology organisations.
The seven were chosen as the most important first practical steps that should be taken by most websites, and are all relatively easy to implement, the book’s author Peter Abrahams, Accessibility Practice Leader at Bloor Research, told the conference.
The steps are grouped into two types, Abrahams said.
Steps 1, 2 and 3 are ‘setting the scene’ steps. Step 1 is to do a quick accessibility check of a website: “We provide a methodology for doing that to give you an indication of whether your website is very accessible, reasonably accessible, partially accessible, or is an absolute nightmare. “ Step 2 is to publish an accessibility policy, and Step 3, is to provide a way for people to give feedback on any problems encountered.
The next four steps represent a few basic technical features that are most important for accessibility, for example helping people who navigate the web using keyboard only or blind people using text to speech screen-readers, he said.
Step 4 is providing a ‘jump to content’ link to allow people to jump over all the menus, adverts and “rubbish” that can clutter up a page and go straight to the main content. Step 5 is ensuring the tab sequence – jumping from link to link using the tab key – is logical; Step 6 is ensuring that pictures and links have alternative text; and step 7 is to ensure that text sizing works.
The book’s own website features a page for each step with background, information about implementation, links to good and bad examples, and instructional videos with closed captions, Abrahams said. Future plans include similar steps for accessibility of other technologies such as smartphones; and the building of an online community to discuss the continual refinement and development of the project, he said.