Issue #3

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Foundational resources

When you first dive into web accessibility, you might feel overwhelmed when searching for the right information. It’s hard to know what’s vetted and accurate and what’s not. Finding the right resources can be a bigger challenge than learning accessibility, or so it seems at times. I have a short list of accessibility resources, and a slightly longer list that’s due for an update. But recently I started thinking about what my foundational resources would be, if I had to pick. What’s a foundational resource, you might ask? A resource that broadens your understanding of accessibility as a whole. It’s a link you might visit often in your regular workflow.

Here are my three favorite foundational accessibility resources:

WebAIM: WebAIM has provided comprehensive web accessibility solutions since 1999, and is one of the leading providers of web accessibility expertise internationally. WebAIM is a non-profit organization within the Center for Persons with Disabilities at Utah State University. Its site brings together a huge collection of information and community around accessibility. The staff at WebAIM keep the site up to date an relevant, even as accessibility and the Web evolves. The site’s active email discussion group always has valuable information to share, and continues to be my favorite feature.

HTML5 Accessibility: This site, maintained by the Paciello Group, tracks how new HTML5 user interface features are accessibility supported in browsers. That makes them usable by people who rely upon assistive technology (AT) to use the Web. I find myself checking this site when I want to file issues in projects, and am unsure of browser support. I like this site because it’s an introduction to standards in a way, but in the real world.

Accessibility Wins: A recently launched blog by Marcy Sutton, Accessibility Wins showcases accessible user interfaces and tools. I check it all the time to get inspiration, and see what people are doing on the Web to maintain and push accessibility forward. It’s perfect for finding something similar to what you need to accomplish, viewing source and seeing how it all works. I also like the mix of real sites and tools needed to make those sites, because you need both to help you.

What are your favorite foundational resources?

News and links

New W3C Working Group forms to shepherd HTML: From the new charter: “The mission of the Web Platform Working Group is to continue the development of the HTML language, providing specifications that enable improved client-side application development on the Web, including application programming interfaces (APIs) for client-side development and markup vocabularies for describing and controlling client-side application behavior.”

Work begins on extensions to WCAG 2.0: This means that WCAG 2.0 should be able to evolve along with the changing technology of the Web. From the blog post: “For the first time since the finalization of WCAG 2.0 in 2008, this charter allows the Working Group to explore ways to provide guidelines beyond WCAG 2.0.”

ARIA in HTML draft updated: An important spec to pay attention to since JavaScript defines more and more of the experience on the Web. From the draft: “…defines the web developer rules (author conformance requirements) for the use of [wai-aria-1.1] attributes on [HTML51] elements. It also defines requirements for Conformance Checking tools.”

Resources, tools and tutorials

New to A11y?

Autoplay is common on the Web, especially with advertising. For people with disabilities, however, autoplay content is not only irritating but can be a real barrier to access. AbilityNet has a post explaining why.

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