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Category: Articles

Make it readable

Have you ever been on a site that the text was simply unreadable. You know what I’m talking about! The colour of the text and the colour of the background just makes it hard to read, or either the font is just too small or the width of the line is too long. Well now you can customize those pesky texts into something you can actually read.

Readability is a simple tool that makes reading on the Web more enjoyable by removing the clutter around what you’re reading.”

This application made by Arc90 is quite easy to use. Just pick your settings and bookmark it on your favourite browser and use it at your leisure. Get it at Readability – An Arc90 Lab Experiment.

Read about it at: Readability | Arc90 Lab


How People with Disabilities Use the Web

Accessibility guidelines are primarily developed for people with either visual, hearing or physical impairments and disabilities. Here are basic descriptions of some ways people with disabilities use the internet:

  • People with visual impairments might use a screen reader. This is a software that will read out loud the text of the web page. They might also use a text browser and need to make the text bigger. Just think about the elderly that have weaker eyesight.
  • People that have hearing impairments won’t be able to hear music or audio.  Captions or transcripts are the only ways to not alienate them.
  • People with physical disabilities like reduced motor skills use assistive technologies to help them navigate through the site.
  • We also need to keep in mind people with cognitive disabilities. They’ll need simple language and consistency throughout the website. This is also valid for first time web users.

There’s lots more to consider, for more read: W3C’s document on how people with disabilities use the web.

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Web Accessibility in Canada

As far as I know, web accessibility in Canada is up to each province to legislate.  There are several attempt to make websites accessible in government and educational institutions. Most if not all government websites in Canada are now accessible. But unfortunately, there are no laws to ensure that accessibility guidelines are respected.

A special notice should be given to W3Québec. An organization dedicated to promote web accessibility across Québec. Another organization is Accéssibilité Web that have done substantial studies on the matter and have translated WCAG 2.0 in French.

Unlike the US, the Canadian government has yet to make an official law like Section 508. There’s still a ways to get people on board.

If you want to read more on this, check out:

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Content Management Systems with accessibility

Content management systems (CMS) have become very popular in the last 3 years or so. They usually are pretty easy to install and to upgrade, but not all of them have accessibility in mind. What often happens is that the theme designer has to make it her or his business to create a site as accessible as possible.

I came across some CMS that have accessibility integrated into the system in an article written by the National Center on Disability and Access to Education named NCDAE Tips and Tools: Content Management Systems & Accessibility.

They explain the major challenges that people with disabilities face while using a regular CMS and give us advice on how to choose a responsible system. Most of the systems they recommend have an accessibility page stating there attempt to respect accessibility guidelines. This is valuable information that can help anyone accessing the site. Read this article before considering any CMS.

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Laws in Canada

I just read Accessibility Laws In Canada by Tara Cleveland, A little dated, but really worth reading. The author writes about the legal incentive for web accessibility in Canada. According to Canadian codes, Websites should be accessible, unless, of course, the site doesn’t provide any goods or services online, post job opportunities, or have any employees that need to use the site to do their jobs. Which frankly is a big chunk of websites. So push your boss and youself to make all websites accessible.

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