Day 28: Exploring Accessibility

Tuesday, March 25, 2003

We’ve decided to work towards making our sites (and as we get new clients, their sites) accessible. Of course, the first step in this is becoming aware of makes sites inaccessible. We both attended some sessions at SXSW, we’ve got a book on order, and tonight we downloaded a trial version of Home Page Reader. Though it’s probably one of the more basic (and sparsely-used) screen readers, it’s one that is somewhat affordable… Once we get Linux working on one of our PCs, we’ll install EmacSpeak, which is free.

So far, our own sites haven’t fared too poorly. I’ve noticed some things I definitely need to be aware of, like having an annoyingly long menu that has to be read at the beginning of each new page… or like using abbreviatons in writing. ‘Ave‘ and ‘etc‘ just don’t work when you read them aloud. Of course, HPR doesn’t recognize the acronym tag, which might help in some scenarios. As we delve into this more, we’ll have to keep in mind the limitations of this particular screen reader versus some that are more widely-used.