Ramblings, meanderings, rants and discoveries.

Friday, May 20, 2011

CSS, W3, and accessabilty

I have been working on redesigning a web site. It needs to be brought up to more modern standards.  It needs to be accessible and most of all it needs to impart the information that it is meant to in a way the users can find it. This should not be difficult. EXCEPT it is.

This is my first real venture into the world of CSS and accessibility, you see a large percentage of our users are visually impaired. Some are low vision, this means that the test must be in a font that is readable and contrast must be good. Some use speech clients that means alt text must be there, no server side java script and of course no music. Also table can be a pain as can frames.

But the definition of accessibility does not stop there. It includes people with slower or older browsers.  Odd browsers, text only browsers and hearing impaired. So basically to make a truly accessible page, it should not run flash or any of the fancy stuff. Which is no big deal, right? Yeah about that.

So I go off to gather some templates to look at and learn from. EXCEPT a year ago when something was marked as an accessible CSS it was.  Now a lot of it is marked so but uses .js server side to make the hover work properly. Use flash as a graphic display device or use jquery which is really just another form of .js to some speech clients.

I found a few with none of the above and started studying them. I loaded first in Opera 11.01 but Opera upgraded so loaded in 11.10 they load differently spans and alt text sometimes overlap other text, I get a lot of extra space on the left side. In Firefox, they display differently, in Chrome they look ok on the one version I have. In Internet Explorer the hover does not work quite right it is out of alignment.  So the solution of a year or so ago is no longer a solution. We must again test and build with conditions for every conceivable browser and instance.  When will they stop making the internet unaccessible through developing products that do not respond to the  most basic html?

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