Websites, social networking, content management systems

Overview of the WebAIM WAVE Toolbar

Thursday, October 4, 2012
11 AM Pacific, 2 PM Eastern

EASI is hosting Jared Smith of WebAIM, presenting on their Firefox toolbar that assists you in evaluating and repairing the accessibility of your web pages.

 

The WAVE tool and accompanying toolbar for Firefox will assist you both in evaluating and improving the accessibility of your Web pages. This webinar will highlight brand new improvements to these tools.

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Assistive Listening Systems

Thursday, October 4, 2012
11:30 AM Pacific, 2:30 PM Eastern

Presented by the Access Board and the Great Lakes National ADA Center, this session will review the requirements for assistive listening systems (ALS) in the 2010 ADA Accessibility Standards and the Architectural Barriers Act Accessibility Standards. Where are they required? How do they work? What are my options? These are some of the questions posed by facility operators and designers. A detailed review of the various types of assistive listening systems and their suitability for different types of facilities will also be provided.

Presenters:

David Baquis, Accessibility Specialist, US Access Board

Paul Beatty, Accessibility Specialist, Office of Technical and Information Services, US Access Board

 

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Content Management Systems (CMSs) and Accessibility

Content Management Systems (CMSs) let you create websites without having to write software or know much about web technologies -- they separate the task of creating and managing the content of your site from the task of building and maintaining the underlying structure. This lets 'average people' set up and manage a site, and makes it easy for contributors to write and comment. Drupal, Joomla!, WordPress, and Plone are popular CMSs. This article provides an overview of CMSs and accessibility, and how to get started.

Note: this article does not cover the specific types of CMSs used widely in education, called learning management systems, such as Blackboard and Elluminate.

How CMSs Work

CMSs are all about simplicity, and they use 2 techniques to achieve their goal of simplification; both have accessibility implications.

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Accessibility Considerations and Library Software

Software designed primarily for use by libraries may or may not be accessible or compatible with assistive technologies. This article covers three types of library software:

  • Information resources that provide information or point to information, such as databases
  • Administrative software that interfaces between users and applications and controls computer usage
  • Security systems that prevent malicious usage of software and reset system/programs to their defaults

Potential Accessibility Issues

Accessibility problems with library software usually occur for one of three reasons:

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Assistive Technology and Elders

When considering assistive computer technology for elders, three issues need to be addressed: how will they need to be accommodated, what technology exists to provide accommodations, and how can these technologies be presented so elders will use them.

How Do Elders Need To Be Accommodated?

For elders, disability exists on a continuum of severity. Some disabilities are a natural part of aging and are generally mild.  Other disabilities rise in incidence with age, and may be mild to severe. Finally, more people with mild to severe long-term disabilities are living well beyond retirement age.

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Accessibility Considerations for Library Software

What Are the Problems?

Using a library now means using software: online resources, Internet workstations, and the library's own website and catalogue create a software-based experience for patrons and staff. Users may have trouble:

  • Seeing content on the monitor
  • Using the keyboard or mouse
  • Understanding complicated directions
  • Any of the other typical computer software barriers

These barriers may appear anywhere in your software environment:

  • Information resources, which provide information or point to information--e.g., journal articles or bibliographic databases.
  • Administrative software, which provides an interface between users and applications, and control computer usage from signin through providing alerts when a user's time is up.
  • Security systems, which are intended to prevent malicious use of software and reset the system and programs to their defaults between users. These may also be used by other types of public computer labs.

There are easy, inexpensive solutions for almost all of these problems.

Legal Obligations

The Americans with Disabilities Act, which covers public and private libraries and many other institutions, states that “No individual shall be discriminated against…in the full and equal enjoyment of …services…." Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, which covers some libraries, also requires accessible information technology.

Getting Started

The software used in your library should be as accessible as possible, and you can help move it in that direction without becoming an accessibility guru.  This article will go over some steps you can take:

  • Getting Close to Your Users
  • Your IT Staff
  • When You're in the Market
  • If You've Got Technical Resources

Getting Close to Your Users

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Making Your Organization's Website More Accessible and Usable

Making Your Organization's Website More Accessible and Usable

Website accessibility is less complex than many people believe. It primarily involves adherence to a small number of basic rules for including certain codes or content in ways that can be interpreted effectively by people who are not using the standard monitor, keyboard, or mouse to access and interact with websites.

Guidelines and Standards

Most national and international accessibility guidelines are based on at least one of two sources:

  • The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). WCAG 1.0 was published in 1999; WCAG 2.0, which is a major revision, was published in 2008. Among other changes, WCAG 2.0 strives to remain relevant as new Internet technologies are developed. WCAG is based on best practices, and is not formally affiliated with any legislation. WCAG has three levels of compliance: A (minimal compliance), AA (enhanced compliance), and AAA (advanced compliance). This document covers Level A and Level AA compliance.
  • Section 508 Standards, which were published in 2000 and are enforceable for Federal agencies under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Subpart B, 1194.22 covers Internet and intranet pages. Section 508 is slated for revision in the near future; when the revised standards are published, they will dovetail far more closely with WCAG 2.0. Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which addresses accessibility of places of public accommodation, has recently been amended to cover website accessibility. When Title III standards are published, they will likely be based on WCAG 2.0 and/or Section 508.

What Website Accessibility Means

Website guidelines and standards primarily address two issues:

  • Coding. Many people with disabilities use assistive technologies to access the Internet. Assistive technologies provide an alternative to the monitor (e.g., programs that read information aloud) or to the keyboard and/or mouse (e.g., speech recognition software). These programs are often dependent on the presence of certain HTML tags, attributes, or other pieces of coding to work properly.
  • Interface. The “look and feel” of websites needs to be designed so that they are accessible to people with disabilities, whether or not they use assistive technologies. These guidelines and standards overlap significantly with mainstream usability guidelines. WCAG Level A guidelines primarily cover coding issues; Level AA guidelines cover both coding and interface.

This article discusses Section 508, Level A, and Level AA guidelines, and provides suggestions on how to comply with each of these.

 

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Archived Webinar on WAVE Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool

ADA Online archive materials are available, giving an overview of web accessibility evaluation and how the WAVE tool (http://wave.webaim.org/) can facilitate human evaluation.

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Accessibility with WordPress

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2013
11 AM Pacific, 2 PM Eastern

Learn about what you can do to improve WordPress on the front-end, in the admin, and what you need to know about themes and plug-ins to keep your site accessible. From ADA Online Learning Network.

 

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