Search Optimization, Accessibility, and Images: Best Practices

One common suggestion concerning the search optimization of images is to use the alt attribute to place keywords relevant to the image contents. I really loathe this. If it was an amazing, perfect, incredible search optimization technique which would bring absolutely fantastic traffic I still wouldn’t recommend the technique. Appropriate alt attributes are one of the most critical areas for the user experience of screen reader users — using them inappropriately is a great way to give this section of […]

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Don’t Rebuild the Browser: Educate The User

Recently, I wrote a series of posts about what I choose to call pseudo-accessibility — part of which is the provision of website tools which emulate native browser functionality. The reason these tools proliferate is because of developer laziness, not because of developer interest in accessibility. For some strange reason, it’s considered more difficult to educate the user about their browser than it is to build a text-resizing widget. (Granted, text-resizing widgets aren’t exactly rocket science.) Ian Lloyd, of Accessify, […]

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Working with legacy websites

This is a task which comes up over and over again for many developers. There are a lot of jobs in maintaining web sites. Our work doesn’t always come with the dream experience of a brand-new web site. Even if a new web site is a major goal, there will inevitably be large quantities of legacy content which will need to be worked into the new accessible design. Working on legacy websites can pose a number of subtle challenges. If […]

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Why not tables? Is CSS really better?

At Cre8asite Forums this week, a lengthy discussion on the ultimate value of pure CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) based layout over the use of tables has been taking place. Sometimes, living in the sheltered world of accessible and standards-based design, I can lose touch with the fact that many people out there simply don’t accept some of the same guidelines I work with every day — and that this does not, in any way, mean that they haven’t given the […]

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The Pains of Physical Accessibility

Thursday night last week, I attended a musical theater production. It was a production which was being provided with audio description, American Sign Language interpretation, and captioning. Obviously, the goals were to provide an all around accessible experience of this production. And these things were all well done: the audio description was clear and simple. It neither interfered with the production nor gave any kind of bias to the actions of the characters. Although I don’t personally know ASL, the […]

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