Jim Byrne, the founder of the Guild of Accessible Web Designers, has recently published a collection of practical tips to help in constructing accessible web sites. If you’re confused or overwhelmed by the complexity of technical discussions on accessibility, this may be a great way into learning the basics of web accessibility.
Jim’s tips, rather than focusing on the esoteric details of dealing with multiple populations, provides simple ideas with explanations why these issues are important for accessibility.
You can buy it now at Lulu.com for only $13.34 (PDF) or for 19.95 in print.
The book is a successor to his earlier “50 Hot to Touch Accessible Web Design Tips” – there are a number of significant changes, so it’s worth considering the new version if you’ve already purchased the original. Accessibility is a constantly changing field, so keeping up with the changes through cheap PDF downloads has it’s advantages!
If you’re already an experienced practitioner of web accessibility, this book can still serve a purpose for you: think of it as a checklist. Many of the tips Jim makes are fundamental guidelines to keep in mind when focusing on accessibility: and some of them are easy to overlook when wrapped up in the design process.
This isn’t to say that the book isn’t without warts. I have to admit that, although the book provides a great background to accessibility it’s truly not very thorough. It skims over issues, it doesn’t explain anything in any great detail. If you want a quick checklist of things you should consider, it’s great. If you want to know why – you’ll need to pick a different resource. There’s room to disagree with some of the tips expressed here – but you’ll need further reading in order to start getting into these deeper accessibility conversations.