Website Accessibility
November 11, 2015 9:55 AM   Subscribe

Do you have a favorite resource, tutorial, or FAQ that could get me started as I learn more about creating and managing accessible websites?

One of my job responsibilities is to be the webmaster for the non-profit I work for. For the last 10 years I have simply ignored all of the accessibility issues related to websites. But now I would like to start learning more about this particular viewpoint and approach to web design.

Do you have a favorite resource, tutorial, or FAQ that could get me started to learn about this kind of stuff?

Secondly, if there any tips or pieces of wisdom you would like to impart to me, I would *love* to hear it. Perhaps you use accessible websites: What are some features you are seeking?
posted by to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
National Federation for the Blind and the Web Accessibility Initiative are two leaders in this area.

NFB Web Accessibility

WAI also has a number of tools that you can run your website through and it'll tell you where potential problems are.
posted by Karaage at 10:02 AM on November 11, 2015 [2 favorites]

The W3C's Web Content Accessibility Guidelines can be a pretty good resource, if you've already been a webmaster for 10 years.
posted by XMLicious at 10:06 AM on November 11, 2015

Searching "508 compliance" will help you find what you're looking for.
posted by entropone at 10:13 AM on November 11, 2015

As XMLicious mentioned, WCAG is a great starting point. You will want to be as fully compliant with WCAG 2.0 as possible for starters.

Start using and thinking about screenreading software and how people use it to interact with your web content - most notably NVDA, JAWS, and Voiceover (iOS and Mac OS), and Talkback (Android).

Seek out users with disabilities to test your content. If you are an able-bodied person, you will never capture the full user experience across devices, software and disabilities unless you get feedback from that audience themselves.

Also understand that blind or visually impaired users are not the only target of your efforts - how are you integrating video content if you have any (e.g., professionally prepared captioning vs. youtube's hit-and-miss machine-generated captioning, or use of descriptive video)? What about users with motor impairments?

Love the idea that well-built accessible content can be inherently mobile friendly - two birds, one stone!

Finally, since it looks like you're located nearby, get in touch with the Boston Accessibility Group. Check out their meetups, where you can make contacts and learn more about web accessibility from other web masters, developers, etc.:
Are you interested in accessibility? Join passionate developers, media specialists, designers, usability professionals, and accessibility experts to share knowledge and learn at the Boston Accessibility Roundtable.

The Boston A11Y Roundtable meets monthly to discuss online accessibility, including trends in regulations and guidelines, barriers that people with disabilities face online, and techniques for achieving equal access by all for websites, applications, and documents.
Some additional resources:

Accessibility Camp 2015 morning sessions

Accessibility Camp 2015 Afternoon Sessions
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 11:38 AM on November 11, 2015

Oh, and also: "#a11y" is the hashtag for accessibility.

Should have mentioned that the Accessibility Project has the following quick reference stuff:

Quick tests
Quick tips
Assistive technology

...and lots of links to other resources.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 11:45 AM on November 11, 2015

Firstly: bravo! You will not regret the time you spend on this.

Secondly: I like the WebAIM plain-English version of the WCAG guidelines, and lately Smashing Magazine's accessibility tag gives some great how-to articles, while A List Apart has always had great accessibility articles.

Thirdly: The skill level for some of these is all over the place, but it's important to remember that every accessibility change you make to your site is helping someone, even if the site as a whole is not fully accessible yet. Pick something like alt tags or contrast to begin with and dive in! When you have questions, try the #a11y hashtag on Twitter (or maybe Stack Overflow).
posted by harriet vane at 6:27 PM on November 11, 2015

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