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Tag: HTML

Ultimate checklist for making your plugin accessible

HTML code semantics

Following HTML code semantics is fundamental in making your web applications accessible because assistive technologies, like screen readers, rely on the code to transmit the correct information to the user.

Forms are communly inaccurate due to a lack of the label tag or the misuse of the input fields.(Check out the W3C for forms in HTML4 or W3C for forms in HTML5.)

Another commun mistakes involves data tables weither by not structuring your table with the proper elements or  by adding visual attributes that should go in the CSS, (Check out W3C for tables in HTML4 or W3C for tables in HTML5.)

Follow W3C standards to the letter and you will have a good start.

Use CSS

To keep the integrity of your code separate content from presentation. In the case of a data table, attributes like cellspacing and cellpadding should be replaced by padding of the td element in your css file. This will allow users to strip down the visuals to suit their own needs.

Tabbed Navigation

Many users use only the tab key to navigate within a web browser and webpage, because they cannot use a mouse (in case of limited motor skills or blindness).

Colour contrast

There are many tools to help you choose the appropriate colour contrasts between background and foreground of your text.

A proper ratio of luminosity assures that users with visibility issues can clearly see differences between elements. Think of users with colourblindness or eye sensitivity.

WAI-ARIA attributes

If you want to go a step further and you are coding in HTML5, you can use ARIA attributes to compliment all previous steps. WAI-ARIA is a set of elements that give extra code information to assistive technologies.

More information about ARIA:

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Making your site search engine friendlyRendre votre site convivial aux moteurs de recherche

Terms like search engine optimization (SEO), metadata, ranking and search engine marketing (SEM) can be a bit confusing. I will instead give you three basic ways to get your site more visibility on any search engine.

Follow accessibility standards

This is the most technical point, but the most critical of all three points. It demands the know-how from your web professional. The main focus is on making your content available and providing coherent HTML code.
Accessibility standards include:

  • Providing alternative text to anything non-textual or complex,
  • Using headings sequentially,
  • Conserving the purpose (semantics) of all HTML code,
  • Making the content of links and destination comprehensible as is.

Get known outside of your sphere

Use external resources to attract attention to your site. Social Networking sites are a great way of increasing your online presence. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and now Google + are the most well known social networking sites, but there are much more out there. They all have different particularities. It is up to you to judge which one fits your needs most. You can also participate in forums, discussion boards and sites with comments that target your desired audience.

Web tools from your favourite search engine

All of the major search engines have what is called “Webmaster tools”. Search engines provide us with the possibility to send them data about your site directly. Data like your site URL and an index of your site, in turn they provide you with basic information on your site and submit it to their database (webcrawler).

Remember that making your site appear in search results takes time and dedication. There are no magic tricks to make your site be in the top results. The tips I gave you should give you a head start into attracting more people to your site.

Des termes tels que SEO, métadonnées, classement des sites Web et SEM peut être un peu compliqués. Je vais plutôt vous donner trois façons de donner à votre site Web plus de visibilité dans n’importe quel moteur de recherche.

Suivre les normes d’accessibilité

C’est le point le plus technique, mais le plus critique de tous les trois points. Elle exige du savoir-faire de la part de votre professionnel du Web. L’objectif principal est de rendre votre contenu disponible et de fournir du code HTML cohérent.
Les normes d’accessibilité comprennent les implications suivantes:

  • Il fault fournir un texte alternatif à tous les éléments non textuelles ou complexe,
  • Il faut utiliser des en-têtes de façon séquentielle,
  • Il faut conserver la signification (sémantique) de tous les codes HTML,
  • Il faut rendre le contenu et destinations des liens compréhensibles.

Obtenez connu en dehors de votre sphère

Utiliser des ressources externes pour attirer l’attention vers votre site. Les sites de réseaux sociaux sont une excellente façon d’augmenter votre présence en ligne. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn et maintenant Google + sont les plus connus des sites de réseautage social, mais il y en a beaucoup plus. Ils ont tous des particularités différentes. C’est à vous de juger celui qui correspond le plus à vos besoins. Vous pouvez également participer à des forums, des discussions et à des commentaires de sites qui ciblent votre auditoire désiré.

Des outils Web de votre moteur de recherche préféré

Tous les principaux moteurs de recherche ont ce qu’on appelle “Webmaster Tools“. Les moteurs de recherche nous fournissent la possibilité de leur envoyer directement des données sur votre site Web: des données comme l’URL et un index de votre site. En échange, ils vous fournissent des informations de base sur votre site et le transmettent à leur base de données (webcrawler).

Rappelez-vous que faire en sorte que votre site Web apparaisse dans les résultats de recherche prend du temps et surtout du travail. Il n’y a pas des tours de magie pour que votre site soit dans les premiers résultats. Les conseils que je t’ai donné devrait vous donner une longueur d’avance en attirant davantage de personnes à votre site.

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Top Accessible WordPress themes

This assessment is very simplistic and constitutes a basic preliminary review. It is not comprehensive nor exhaustive.

I chose themes from the Free Theme Directory and searched for Web Accessible and Accessibility. I narrowed my selection by considering which theme would be easily customizable, have good contrast between foreground and background, have elements in a convenient location and be aesthetically pleasing as is.

I then used the plugin Demo Data Creator to generate more content for posts, pages, comments and categories.

The following themes made the cut:

Precious version 4.0.1
At first glance the layout is pretty simple and effective. Convenient breadcrumb on top of page. Upon disabling the style sheets, nothing is out of order. Validates for XHTML 1.0 Transitional and CSS2.

Stardust version 2.7
Very stylish out of the box with flexible width. Has “Skip to content” and “Skip to menu” without CSS. By disabling the images, the date for each post is too dark. Validates for XHTML 1.0 Strict, but not in CSS with 6 CSS2 errors.

Whitepress version 1.1.7
This theme includes a skip to content, navigation and search form when disabling CSS. Has a nice javascript for going through the sidebar items, but also works when javascript is disabled. Uses fixed width for 1024×768 resolution. Validates for XHTML 1.0 Strict, but not in CSS with 1 CSS2 error.

Dodo version 1.2.1
This theme is what this website is based on. The color of the posts date and other meta information is also too light. By disabling the images, the text of the main menu has not enough contrast with its background. With a little tweek here and there, it’s really nice. Fails to validate with XHTML 1.0 Strict with 1 error, but passes CSS2.

Precious and Stardust passed the Firefox Accessibility Extension 1.5.61.0 rule set with only warnings signaled .The themes Whitepress (2 Fails) and Dodo (1 Fail) did not pass.

For validation, I used Markup Validation Service and The W3C CSS Validation Service.

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Case Study

So I recently re-did one of my old websites. My client wanted to had some images so I took the opportunity to give her an accessible site. I had done this site a few years ago. I wasn’t aware back then of web standards and web accessibility. I must confess of using tables for layout. But alas, I have done right by this website. I gutted it and made it new again. Although you can’t really see the difference between before and after! Let me show you what I mean:

Contact page before
Contact page before
Contact page after
Contact page after

They don’t look different, but I did change the code.

Here’s what I did:

  • I started by getting rid of the tables for layout purposes. I know!!! It’s all gone now.
  • Then I added the language to the html tag, lang=”en-US”, like this <html xmlns=”http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml” lang=”en-US”>
  • I gave a more complete title to each page, like “Nadia Stevens Jin Shin Do Bodymind Acupressure Montreal”.
  • I repositionned some divs and wrapped them properly. Some classes and ids were not correctly placed, so I had to fix these. For instance, I had the same id used several times in the same file, so I changed these to classes.
  • Some images had misleading or inaccurate alternative text. Instead of “Fire” as the alt attribute for a chinese character representing fire, I wrote “Fire character”. In the instance where I had images that were not content related I made them blank text, like this: alt=””.
  • I got rid of widths and height attributes.
  • The menu of the page was not in a list, so a placed it in an unordered list.
  • For the maps, I added an onfocus attribute to every onmouseover attribute  and I added an onblur attribute to every onmouseout attribute.

The first page took me about 3 hours, additional pages took me 1 hour to 2 hours to renovate in the same way.

Ok so this site was easy to do because I had already a lot of div’s in the first place, but it really gave me an idea of how many things need to be thought of while in the process of revamping a site. This work is meticulous and a little repetitive, but if done with methodology, making any site accessible can be pretty painless.

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Podcast Five – Advanced Accessibility

[podcast]http://thinkingaccessible.com/podcasts/advanced_accessibility_podcast_five.mp3[/podcast]

Transcript of the podcast:

[Intro music] Welcome to podcast five of Thinking Accessible. On today’s podcast I will talk to you about some advanced features in accessibility.

First on the menu I will talk about accesskeys. Accesskeys are keystrokes that we can trigger on the keyboard to go directly to a certain element or a certain page of your website. Accesskeys are to be combined with different HTML attributes, different HTML tags: the a, the area, the button, the input, the label, the legend, and the textarea. These are your choices for accesskeys. It’s recommended to use numbers 1 to 0 (o to 9). Don’t get carried away! As long as you have shortcuts to important links, this should suffice. For example, the UK has established standards for their accesskeys and they have a list of 11 shortcuts (that they deem important to use.) I would recommend to look at these options and choose the most appropriate ones for your web page.

For my blog, at thinkingaccessible.com, I will only need skip navigation which is the S keystroke, home page which is the 1 keystroke, search which is good and is the keystroke number 4, and accesskey details which is the page that explains the accesskeys used and this is the keystroke zero.

For every accesskey, it is a good idea to put a title with it, to explain exactly where it is redirecting the user.

For example, the accesskey 1 which will be going to the home page, you can title it: “Back to the home page. Accesskey 1″.

Ex:

<a href=”home.html” title=”Back to the home page. Accesskey 1″ accesskey=”1″>Home</a>

I got all this information through a really great article. You can check it out through a link on my blog: Article on Accesskeys

Next up, I think it’s important to discuss labelling forms. Once you get this, it’s super simple! Let’s look at a really basic example. For instance, we have a field for a name, so you type in Name for your label and then you have your input. For this example let’s say that the name attribute is “fullname”. Now for it to be accessible we need to add a label tag to the label itself. In this case, the label we have is Name:, we have to wrap it with the label tag and then we have to for attribute. This for attribute can also be called “fullname”, but remember that your input has to have an id with the same exact name. These two things work together, the for of the label and the id of the input. They work as a combination.

Like this: <label for=”fullname”>Name:</label> <input id=”fullname” name=”fullname”/ >

That’s basically it, that’s all you need to remember.

I have a link to the article in which I got this information: Article on Labelling forms.

My next topic is CSS relative font size. Why is it important to put relative font sizes? It’s for people to be able to change the size of the text in whichever browser they use. Nowadays the more modern browsers zoom the page, so this is not a big issue, but the older browsers have the old way of doing things that was to increase the size, but if this size is an absolute size then it won’t move, it won’t budge. But if it is relative size then it will relatively expand or diminish depending on what the user does. This is why it’s important to do this.

The way of implementing this is that your main body, the main text that you use at the beginning of your CSS stylesheet make it an absolute to the size you want most of your page to be that way you don’t have to worry about it in the future. Some people put 12, I like to put 14 px, pixels. But it’s really up to you. All the subsequent font sizes that you use on your CSS stylesheet, should be a relative number. Either use ems or percentages because it’s much easier to follow.

[Exit music] Well that’s it for today’s podcast. I would love to hear from you. Please come to my blog at thinkingaccessible.com and post some comments. Until next time!

Audio from ccMixter entitled “Café Connection“ by Morgantj under Creative Commons.  Creative Commons by Attribution 3

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Podcast Four – Divide and Conquer

[podcast]http://thinkingaccessible.com/podcasts/divide_and_conquer_podcast_4.mp3[/podcast]

Transcript of the podcast:

[Intro music] Welcome to podcast four of Thinking Accessible. Today’s podcast is called Divide and Conquer. I will talk to you about layout versus content.

One of the keys of being successful in web standards is to divide the layout and the content.What I mean by this is that all the content related elements have to be in the HTML and everything else, like the style or the layout is in the CSS.

Your HTML code is strictly the tags that represent the content. So for example the <p> tag  is for paragraph, the <table> tag is for table, the <blockquote> tag is for big quote, etc. CSS is used to style the content. In other words, you use CSS to let’s say centre a page, make a certain <div> have a border, have a listed menu that is horizontal instead of vertical, remove or have different styles of image borders. So all it is is layout for us and it is done in the CSS.

Ok, now let’s see how this works. Please refer to thinkingaccessible.com for a textual transcript of this podcast where you can see exactly what I’m talking about.

So for example a horizontal menu. You would start by putting a <div> with an id, you can name it anything you want, but it should be something that you will recognize when you go to your CSS. I call (the id) menu. So you have your opening <div> with the id menu and then you can start your list. So it’s an unordered list and so you put the <ul> tag, and then you (place) your elements with the <li> tag, the list tag. It’s a menu so you have to put an <a href> tag with the location of that page and then you put the text, and you have the closing </a> tag, the closing </li> tag. So you repeat this as many times as your menu has items. You finish with a closing </ul> tag and the closing </div> tag.

<div id=”menu”>
<ul>
<li><a href=”home.html”>Home</a></li>
<li><a href=”about.html”>About</a></li>
<li><a href=”contact.html”>Contact</a></li>
</ul>
</div>

So now let’s look at the CSS of this. To start this menu id you can use a div to differentiate it from other maybe classes or you can just start with the number sign and then the name of your id. So in this case I have div, number sign, menu. And this one has padding of the menu and also the size of the font, so font-size is included in this one. The next one is the ul, because you want it to specifically target this id, the menu id, you put the ul right after this menu id. It follows the same order as in the HTML. The list-style is none, the list-style is if you want there to be a little circle beside the (text). We don’t want this in this case and it’s always a good idea to void the margin and the padding. The next one is the li tag and again you put the menu id right before it. To make this menu horizontal you have the display at inline which makes it all horizontal, you can also add some padding here for every element in your menu.

div#menu {
padding: 128px 0 0 220px;
font-size: 70%;
}

#menu ul {
list-style: none;
margin: 0;
padding: 0;
}

#menu li {
display: inline;
padding: 0 5px 0 4px;
}

(This is what is looks like:)

Horizontal menu list of Home About Contact
Horizontal menu list of Home About Contact

That was a simple example of how you (divide) HTML and CSS to have a better separation between the content and the layout.

[Exit music] That’s it for this podcast. I hope you found it useful. You can also see other content at my blog thinkingaccessible.com. Until next time!

Audio from ccMixter entitled “Café Connection“ by Morgantj under Creative Commons.  Creative Commons by Attribution 3

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