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H810 – The variety of guidelines (A19.1)

November 9, 2010

This activity required us to look at a variety of guidelines and answer the following questions!

  • the level of detail – is the technical level suitable for you in your role?
  • is the guidance complete – does it provide links to further information?
  • would you recommend this guidance to anyone else in your organisation who needs this information?

Here are my answers.

The Accessibility Digital Media Guidelines is a very detailed guideline, but requires a certain degree of technical knowledge and is more geared towards web designer. Personally I liked as well the screenshots, but interestingly they provided no descriptions to this screenshots. But I also learned that  the alt attribute can be supplemented with the longdesc attribute ‘which provides a longer description than is possible or practical in alt. longdesc can be retrieved by screen readers or other access technologies and is sometimes, but not always, made visible by browsers’.  The OU also works with the longdesc attribute and provide a navigation-button to access a longer description. Another possibility suggested by the source and also by some of my peers in the forum is to include a text description placed adjacently to the image on the page. I think that might be the easiest solution and can be readily accessed.

Comparing the above source with the WAI page, I like the above one more. You do not see the woods for trees, with all the links, that link to a link, a link. Not really accessible for me, I definitely prefered the clear structured site from Accessible Digital Media Guidelines. The WAI page also requires a certain level of technical knowledge.

I definitely liked the video Screen Readers and the Web (University of Wisconsin, 2008), it was most impressive. Particularly I liked that the video showed you very descriptive what works and what works and I sometimes felt ashamed to see how inaccessible a webpage can be e.g. the site from the bookseller, that we take for granted and have normally no problems to access. I now know that a D-link would be probably better than the longdesc attribute, because browsers has no problems with that simple link. I also learned how useful header tags can be and how they safe time for visually impaired people.

The dyslexia style guide (BDA, undated) is definitely easy understandable and comprehensive, clear structured and provide further information on accessibility. I would recommend this page, to those with less technical knowledge, including me 😉

I definitely like the JISC TechDis resources. We came across this resources a couple of times during the course so far and I found them very helpful.

finally the Using Adobe tools to make accessible content (Adobe, 2009). The side provides a couple of  PDF documents regarding different subjects, e.g. the Accessibility overview which is quite helpful.

The bottom line is that I first have to digest all the information and though I know that we should guarantee web accessibility, is the translation into practice quite difficult, regarding the great variety of guidelines. It also shows me how much I have to take care of when designing our online resource for Activity 23.

From → H810

  1. Question: When you say “The OU also works with the longdesc attribute and provide a navigation-button to access a longer description. ” What is “OU”? Any examples of it in use?


  2. Hallo Laura,

    sorry I sometimes forget that no everybody knows the acronyms that I am using. With OU I mean the Open Universitiy of England where I am right now studying towards a Master degree in Online and Distance Education.

    Well, my technical knowledge is not so big, but I saw the attribute in the source code, but it is more like a D-link. They provide a button under a image or figure which says longer description and link you then to another page with the longer description. So they avoid the limiation of 250 spaces which are allowed for the alt-attribute and make it more accessible for disabled and non-disabled students.

    May I asked what you are doing? Do you study with another university?


  3. Hi Sylvia,

    Ah of course, Open University of England.

    My day job is at a University. But my longdesc research is for the HTML5 Working Group. I’ve been collecting “examples in the wild” my spare time.

    Does OU have any longdesc examples?


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