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Web Accessibility Resources

LevelBasic

By Lasa Information Systems Team

These days many voluntary organisations either have a Web presence already or want to get one. More and more people are becoming aware of the importance of accessible Web site design, but may be unsure of what's needed.

What follows is a list of some online resources to help you ensure that your Web site will be accessible. Remember, making your Web site accessible is good for everyone, not only disabled people. Also that whilst automated testing can be used to help identify potential accessibility issues with a web page, it is not a substitute for manual checking:

  • Access Adobe: - transforms PDF (Portable Document Format) files into HTML (the "code" that web pages are written in). This site also provides resources to assist content creators to use Adobe software to produce accessible content.
  • Adobe Dreamweaver: - accessibility features of Adobe's Dreamweaver, the popular Web authoring software.
  • A-Prompt: (Accessibility Prompt) - a software tool designed to improve usability by evaluating Web pages for accessibility barriers and then providing developers with a way to make any necessary repairs.
  • Bobby Test - See under Watchfire WebXact below.
  • Cynthia Says: - Free online accessibility checking tool. Paid for desktop version available.
  • Freedom Scientific: - demonstration and full versions of JAWS screen reading software (19Mb download) available from this site. Screen reading software is used by blind people to "read" out the content of a web page.
  • Great web design tips: - free online course on accessibility and usability issues.
  • GW Micro: - demo and full versions of Window-Eyes screen reading software (24.5Mb download) available from this site.
  • RNIB campaign for good web design: - useful information on the importance of designing Web sites with accessibility in mind and tips to help you design an accessible site.
  • The Wave: - a free web accessibility evaluation tool provided by WebAIM
  • Trace Research and Development Center: - information on disability and web use plus a comprehensive list of resources for designing more usable websites.
  • Usablenet: - the accessibility and usability section of this site offers links to articles on usability and accessibility issues. The site also offers software products and services to automate usability and accessibility testing for website developers.
  • Vischeck:  - an online tool for showing what things look like to someone who is colour blind. The tool is also available for download.
  • Watchfire WebXACT (formerly Bobby Test): - Access to an online accessibility testing tool which allows you to check a page at a time (Watchfire took over Bobby from CAST and developed the "Bobby Test" further). Bobby 5, a version of the tool that can be installed on a your computer and used to check whole websites can be purchased from Watchfire. As of 1st February 2008 Watchfire WebXact and Bobby Online products are no longer publicly available.
  • Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) Guidelines: - guidelines for creating accessible content to internationally agreed standards. The site also provides, tips, techniques and links to tools for website creators to make their sites accessible.
  • Web Accessibility in Mind: (WebAim) - free tutorials on implementing accessible Web sites.
  • Web Accessibility Toolbar: - free browser toolbar to aid manual checking of web pages for various aspects of accessibility. Requires Internet Explorer 5+.
  • Web Credible: - Web accessibility and usability articles.
  • Web Developer: - The (free) Web Developer extension for open source browsers Mozilla Firefox and Mozilla adds a useful menu and a toolbar to the browser with various web developer tools.

Specifically for web developers, see also AbilityNet's top 10 accessibility tools.


About the author

Lasa Information Systems Team
Lasa's Information Systems Team provides a range of services to third sector organisations including ICT Health Checks and consulting on the best application of technology in your organisation. Lasa IST maintains the knowledgebase. Follow us on Twitter @LasaICT

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abamaison
25th January 2011Web accessibility code of practice BS 8878 - standard explained, help and guidance http://www.access8878.co.uk/

iangoodman
7th February 2011Useful How To Write Accessible Web Content on knowhownonprofit - http://www.knowhownonprofit.org/how-to/how-to-write-accessible-web-content

KaraJennings
2nd March 2011This list has been a life saver in my research on web accessibility thanks to those who put it together. I'm giving a presentation to my faculty next week on the topic. Other things I've found useful on it:

http://paws.wcu.edu/mherzog/617modideas_001.htm
http://trace.wisc.edu/world/web/#awsg
http://www.accredited-online-college-degrees.com/teaching.htm

abamaison
8th March 2012Before and After Demonstration (BAD) is a multi-page resource that shows an inaccessible website and a retrofitted version of this same website. Demo available from http://www.w3.org/WAI/demos/bad/

JonathanHassell
5th April 2012You can find a large number of blogs and articles on accessibility and inclusive design from the former BBC Head of Accessibility & Usability, Jonathan Hassell, on the Hassell Inclusion site: http://www.hassellinclusion.com.

The official slides on BS 8878 from its launch, together with other free information including, case studies of organisations using BS 8878, detailed blogs on its use by SMEs, tools and training for applying the Standard, and news on its progress towards an International Standard, can be found at: http://www.hassellinclusion.com/bs8878/

And many people have found Accessibility Myths 2011 takes them to a new level of understanding of accessibility from a holistic, fully user-researched, perspective: http://www.hassellinclusion.com/2011/12/accessibility-myths-2011/