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Category: Reviews

Useful before and after demonstration

The W3C have a super neat online demonstration of visually representing web accessibility. The inaccessible pages have several “barriers”, key elements that make the page inhospitable. For example, the before home page demonstrates a lack of alternative text for each image, an inconsistency in the content order, a negligence with headings and lists, an inaccuracy with link texts and font sizes.

Even by visually comparing both inaccessible and accessible pages you can see the subtle, yet important, differences. I suggest to examine one page at a time. Carefully look at the before and after of the home page, then read the “accessible barriers”. When you understand the “barriers” then go on to the next page.

If you want to see how to go from a non-compliant site to an accessible one, you need to read this document, the before and after demo at:

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Firefox Accessibility Extension

Firefox 2 and Firefox 3 let the user add plugins to the browser. There are about a million of them that you can find either on the menubar under Tools and Add-ons or at their website at The add-ons that any web developer must have are Firebug, to debug the code and make adjustments on the fly; Web Developer, to disable, highlight, display, outline, and validate just about anything on any web page; and a recent discovery of mine Firefox Accessibility Extension.

Although Firefox Accessibility Extension has similar features than the Web Developer add-on, it’s still pretty sweet. Not only does it give the user a toolbar, but also an extra heading on the menubar, between Tools and Help, which I personally prefer rather than having a bunch of toolbars taking up space on my browser. The greatest feature of this extension for a web developer is that you can validate your web page for accessibility. Its FAE Rule Set is based on Functional Accessibility Evaluator 1.0.1 developed by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

FAE on the menubar
FAE on the menubar

If you have any mistakes these are listed in a window with a description of  the error. Obviously there’s a learning curve where you have to know the terms that the report is referring to, nothing a little research won’t solve. These rules are very straightforward, but not exhaustive. This tools gives you a simple and fair reading of your page and this is already a very good starting point.

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