Testing Color Contrast for WCAG 1 & 2

Use the Color Contrast Spectrum Tester or compare the contrast of two colors. Some time ago, while pondering whether web accessibility posed limitations on design, the thought occurred to me that there are presumably some colors which simply cannot be used for text or text backgrounds in any site. WCAG 1 does not, in fact, provide any specific guidelines concerning color contrast. The formulas commonly used to judge this were specified in Techniques For Accessibility Evaluation And Repair Tools, published […]

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Why use semantic HTML?

This is part 1 of 2. Part 2 is my Guide to the use of Semantic HTML Elements I’ve seen a lot of articles discussing the importance of HTML and XHTML semantics. I’ve seen articles describing what it means for a document to be semantic. Most of these articles, however, don’t provide a serious overview of what HTML elements actually may be considered semantic — and what those semantic elements actually mean. And, even more particularly, why it matters. Semantics […]

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Using standards doesn’t make it right

The Wikipedia article on Standards in software contains a very good definition of standards, particularly as we might need to view them when talking about web standards: Standards (software) Software standards enable software to interoperate. Many things are (somewhat) arbitrary, so the important thing is that everyone agree on what they are. Software standards is one of the Unsolved problems in software engineering On the whole, the article at Wikipedia is a good example of what isn’t so great about […]

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Why the DOCTYPE switch isn’t broken

(Or, more accurately, why the DOCTYPE is no more broken than any other potential switching mechanism.) In a recent article, “Beyond DOCTYPE: Web Standards, Forward Compatibility, and IE8“, Aaron Gustafson states that “the DOCTYPE [is] unsustainable as a switch for standards mode.” His argument is based on the problem that many developers and authoring tools now make use of correct DOCTYPEs despite the fact that they are not in fact using standards-based, valid code. Therefore, you can not actually assume […]

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Graph the Semantic HTML Structure of Your Web Page

In October of 2006, I published a brief article about Marcel Salathé’s interesting Java Applet to generate node graphs of web page structure. In that article, I stated: I’d love to be able to produce graphs where I chose the color coding pattern for particular tags. I could set all non-semantic tags to be bright red, to easily spot the condition of a site in that respect. I could focus my attentions on inline versus block elements, or I could […]

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