Saturday, November 25, 2006

Tech Notes: DIA update - Days 8 through 10

OK. So it seems I've been a little distracted since my last foray into the web accessibility world. I've completed these:

Day 8: meaningful page titles
  • easy to do with websites created from scratch
  • unsure of how to implement theory with Blogger (doesn't let you have much control over the page titles)
  • everyone benefits -- it's a basic principle of good webdesign
  • specifically:
    • some screen readers have special keyboard shortcut (INSERT + F10) which displays (and reads) a list of the currently open windows, by page title.
    • Lynx displays the page title in the first line of output, so it's always the first thing that Marcus reads in Braille.
    • For various reasons, folks sometimes gets confused and momentarily loses track of what he's reading. The page title in the window titlebar acts as a visual anchor; it stays in the same place, even as he scrolls the page. You can always glance back to it to jog your memory.
    • Google displays the page title in its search results, and it ranks keywords higher when they appear in the page title. This is a Good Thing for you, if you're interested in generating site traffic.

    Day 9: Providing additional navigation aids
    • only able to add one (home) of the three (home, prev, next) as Blogger doesn't yet do the "next" and "prev" thing gracefully

    Day 10: Presenting your main content first
    • Wahoo!! This was really easy to implement as I don't use tables for page layouts! Woot!

    • Folks using specialized readers can "see" my main content without having to endure my sidebar lists. (Many specialized readers display content in the order in which it appears in the HTML source. Which means that they have to go through a terribly long menus and sidebars to get to actual content.)
    • It also assists with search engines better able to rank your site -- some give more weight to the content nearest the top of the HTML page (not the page as it is viewed.)

    You don't have to have the sidebar on the right of the page to make the page accessible, contrary to what this page suggests. (In fact, it is possible, with a poorly configured website, to have the sidebar on the right hand side of the page and still have the sidebar content appear first in your HTML source. For a quick check, load your page without a reference to styles (or a style sheet). What you see, unformatted in the browser, is the order in which your data will appear in a screen reader.)

Time to make complete these changes: 10 minutes.


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