Week Six July 9-15

Online Reading Assignments
Hands-on Exercise -> Report
Review Questions-> Responses

Assignments

Online readings:

Hands-on exercise

Select a tool from the "existing tools" list maintained by the Evaluation and Repair working group -- this is included in the Additional Resources list for this week. Note that some of these tools are more developed than others, and some have limited functionality. You may get more out of this exercise if you choose a more fully featured tool. Important: The one tool you can't choose is Bobby! Choose another! Use that tool to to evaluate or repair at least three web pages -- including one that you've done. Take notes on how easy or hard it is to do. Write a few paragraphs about using the tool. Include the following information:
  1. What is the tool you're trying out? What's the name and is there a URL for it?
  2. What does the tool do? And what doesn't it do?
  3. What web sites did you test, and did it help you figure out how to make those sites more accessible? What sort of information was provided?
  4. How easy or hard does this tool make it for you to be able to produce accessible web sites?

Hands on report

I tried out the A-Prompt accessibility tool for repair of several pages. It is helpful in bringing up all the issues that would affect whether a page is accessible, and will do it for the different levels of accessibility. So it covers not just image descriptions but also language changes, flicker, color usage, table headers -- the access points covered by WCAG.

A number of issues have to be addessed by the user. The tool helps by raising the questions. But it fails, in relying in the unpracticed and faulty judgment of the user.

I tried it out on a page I just started working on , a personal page that has a big square made up of little thumbnail images. (Ok, I just got my first digital camera and was playing with it!) Some of them are animations that slowly rotate among 2-4 images. When A-Prompt asked if Flicker is a problem on this page, I cavalierly said No, but I don't actually know if it is.

I went through the exercise of providing long-descriptions for each of the animated images and was happy A-Prompt let me skip over ones that were repeats without penalty (this made it easier for me, but isn't it a flaw in the software?) When it was done, the square was misshapen and had little 'd's scattered throughout. While they appeared to be links, they did not go anywhere and I couldnt find the files A-Prompt made me name. I thought it was creating the files, but apparently not. The instructions did not seem clear on this point. The descriptions that I had written and their file names were nowhere to be found. The automatic "skip links" link labeled "content" was linked to an anchor at the bottom of the page.

I went back to review a page or which I had gone through all the checks and they were all undone- it was necessary to start over. I guess there is more to learning the use of this tool than meets the eye.

Review questions

  1. What are three types of software -- besides "HTML editors" -- which might produce output for use on the web?
  2. What are three features that a Web editor program (WYSIWYG or tag-level) could have that makes the resulting content more accessible to people with disabilities?
  3. How important is it for people with disabilities to be able to use web authoring tools? What happens if they can't?

Review answers

  1. Types of software: Image editors such as Paint Shop Pro, often used for web graphics or Picture Dicer which slices up an image for rollover effects and produces some code to go with it; Video programs such as QuickTimePro for producing multimedia materials; Java applications for producing web interfaces.
  2. Accessibility features: Tag validators so the author can check if the code is at least valid html; prompts for access code such as alt tags, and long description tags; accessibility validators.
  3. Importance of accessible tools: All technological advances enable us to overcome our limitations and let us do more, and do it better or faster, than we could unaided. Those with lower abilities need more assistance than others. I believe we (society or the human family) should provide more for those who need more. This includes- but is not limited to - people who have disabilities.

    The internet and the Web in particular is a boon to anyone whose mobility or ability to interact is limited for any reason, allowing interaction with vendors, educational institutions, like minded hobbyists, helping professionals and so on. By its nature it's interactive and I find it hard not to include making web pages myself as part of that interactivity.

    So if people who have disabilities can't use web authoring tools, that basically means they can 'listen' but not talk back so easily. With the ability to make web pages, comcmunities of people with disabilities can speak out better and can help one another more easily.

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