- What is an Experimental Typography? Trends and Examples (by Aimee Sway) - beautiful typographic examples.
- Human Behavior Theories That Can be Applied to Web Design (by Alexander Dawson) - what did you say about zombie's?
- What Every Web Developer Should Know About Front-End Performance (by Joel Sutherland) - don't let optimization slip under the table - it's to be taken seriously - start here...
- Access Ability (by the association of registered graphic designers of ontario) - A Practical Handbook on Accessible Graphic Design.
- 24 Ways (by Drew McLellan and Brian Suda) - Holiday season is here and 24 ways gives you 24 articles written by industry leaders. Enjoy.
- Silverlight 5 Plans Revealed (by Tim Heuer) - exciting new features ahead (beta in spring, release probably in Q3 2011) - XAML databinding debugging
- 15+ Free Holiday & Winter Vectors: Winterize (by Chris McConnell) - right in time, 17 vector graphics for the xmas season.
- The Digital Marketer's Master Library (by Mitch Joel) - marketing is part of our daily job/life and this list is incredible - so check it out.
- Australian DDA moves ahead (by Shrirang Prakash Sahasrabudhe) - Australia is now officially WCAG 2.0 for accessibility conformance.
Following I will identify areas that make web-based maps inaccessible as per WCAG 1.0 (please see section: 'Questions and Possible Research Areas').
Shout for Help
Question: How can Internet Mapping Applications be made accessible for users with disabilities?
If you are currently working on resolving any (or all) of these issues, know of somebody that is working on them or even know existing solutions, I would greatly appreciate if you pointed them out to me.
It is absolutely impossible to continue with our current approach to seek exceptions as a 'work-around'!
It is important to note that I'm not talking about simple Google maps like driving directions or locate services that could be described through alternative, textual output.
Many times a map is the means to select, query, mix and eventually analyze data across multiple layers from multiple services. The input requires good vision and motor skills (mouse) and same applies to the output that is highly visual as well.
A simple example that illustrates this fact pretty well is shown in Figure 1, Drive Times from a specific location based on traffic grid.
Section 508 as explained by Authority 29 U.S.C. 794d: “Section 508 requires that when Federal agencies develop, procure, maintain, or use electronic and information technology, Federal employees with disabilities have access to and use of information and data that is comparable to the access and use by Federal employees who are not individuals with disabilities, unless an undue burden would be imposed on the agency. Section 508 also requires that individuals with disabilities, who are members of the public seeking information or services from a Federal agency, have access to and use of information and data that is comparable to that provided to the public who are not individuals with disabilities, unless an undue burden would be imposed on the agency.”
This law is extended and applicable to companies that develop applications for the agency, i.e. ESRI has to adhere to the Section 508 Standards.
The Section 508 Checkpoints were translated into Web Content Accessibility Guidelines which cover most of Section 508 and describe its implementation in terms of HTML & CSS.
So far, exceptions to this law have been granted for the specific case of online maps. It is believed to impose an ‘undue burden’ to the agency/contractor to make maps accessible. In many cases a 1-800 number was provided that would help the user to get the same information.
Questions and Possible Research Areas
Currently the following WCAG checkpoints are Level 1 (A) show-stoppers and need to be solved/researched/implemented:
Checkpoint 1: Provide equivalent alternatives to auditory and visual content
How to read a map when blind? E.g. redundant text for active regions/content.
Checkpoint 2: Don’t rely on color alone
Map application could provide different color schemes/black&white/shades of gray?!
Checkpoint 6: Ensure that pages featuring new technologies transform gracefully
How to provide a map (or alternative) that can be used when scripts are turned off?
Checkpoint 8: Ensure direct accessibility of embedded user interfaces
Do not write event-handlers that rely on mouse-coordinates (device-independence; see also Checkpoint 9)
Checkpoint 9: Design for device-independence
How to navigate a map without a mouse?
Checkpoint 12: Provide context and orientation information
How to describe the content of a map (especially after a change, e.g. query)?
You know of a solution?
Please get in touch with me if you know of solutions to these problems!
I hope that solutions for these problems can be found and maps become available to everyone. As always, not only users with disabilities will benefit from these efforts but also the applications themselves, e.g. better SEO (search engine optimization), alternative support for mobile user agents, assistance for elderly people, etc.
The purpose of a table is to layout data. Unlike regular text, tables are generally difficult to comprehend. It takes time and effort to understand the structure, capture the data and interpret its meaning. This is even more difficult when the table is viewed and read out by a screenreader. Additional attributes are needed to relate headers with column and rows.
Tables might be used to layout content. The current recommendation for content tables is to explicitely state this purpose upfront so that users with screenreaders can avoid investigating the table's structure. Convey this meaning using the summary attribute:
<table border="0" summary="Layout table with two columns: menu and content">
- Use proper HTML
- Use tables for displaying tabular data
- Use block elements (e.g. DIV) and CSS for layout purposes
- Use proportional sizing rather than absolute sizing
- Describe tables with a name or title (caption tag)
- Provide a summary (summary attribute)
- Designate Row and Column Headers (TH tag)
- Associate the data cells with the appropriate headers (scope & id attributes)
- Avoid spanned rows or columns (workaround: normalize table)
- Avoid tables with more than two levels of row and/or column headers
- Linearize content (literal order in the code equals the linearized reading order)
- Use the simplest table configuration possible
|For data tables, identify row and column headers||5.1||(g)||
<TH abbr="Type">Type of Coffee</TH>
|For data tables that have two or more logical levels of row or column headers, use markup to associate data cells and header cells||5.2||(h)||
<CAPTION>Travel Expense Report</CAPTION>
<TH id="header2" axis="expenses">Meals
<TH id="header3" axis="expenses">Hotels
<TH id="header4" axis="expenses">Transport
<TH id="header6" axis="location">San Jose
<TH> <TH> <TH> <TD>
<TD id="header7" axis="date">25-Aug-97
<TD headers="header6 header7 header2">37.74
<TD headers="header6 header7 header3">112.00
<TD headers="header6 header7 header4">45.00
<TD id="header8" axis="date">26-Aug-97
<TD headers="header6 header8 header2">27.28
<TD headers="header6 header8 header3">112.00
<TD headers="header6 header8 header4">45.00
No Level 2 requirements.
|Provide summaries for tables||5.5||n/a||
<TABLE summary="This table charts the number of cups of coffee ...">
|Provide abbreviations for header labels||5.6||n/a||
<TH scope="col" abbr="Type">Type of Coffee</TH>
|Provide a linear text alternative (on the current page or some other) for all tables that lay out text in parallel, word-wrapped columns||10.3||n/a||n/a|
- WebAIM; Creating Accessible Tables; http://webaim.org/techniques/tables/