While working on a weekly challenge that I do for Comic Book Day, I was issued a challenge to get my site accessible for people with disabilities. I support what she was the challenge was about, so I wrote a post about it and checked my site a little bit. My response was, I write in black and white pages which is easy of people to enlarge and read and for computers to pick up and read it to the person who can not see–so, of course my site was accessible. And, oh by the way,Â a) I looked at the code and the errors and didn’t have a clue what I was looking at, and b) I did think Lorelle on WordPress would actually look!
How wrong was I.
I was introduced to the world of validators, which made Mince-Meat out of my code. Not really, I’ve gotten some good coaching from my friends at Authority Blogger Forums who helped me out. Then, I was more focussed on making the site accessible for the vision impaired.
This is what I have discovered.
We don’t think about it enough, but there are many people out there who use special equipment to read web pages or have them read to them. It is the responsibility of every blogger to include them into the conversation, by making our pages accessible to them. Over the next several days, I going to take the time to bring my sites up to par.
I found a great resource to help from Sue of Lighthouse News. She introduced me to an accessibility validator that even I could understand.
WAVE is a free web accessibility evaluation tool provided by WebAIM. It is used to aid humans in the web accessibility evaluation process. Rather than providing a complex technical report, WAVE shows the original web page with embedded icons and indicators that reveal the accessibility information within your page.
WAVE evaluated my blog and identified the accessibility errors that I had. For example, a key error that I have is that many of my pictures are not titled with “alt” text–which doesn’t mean a lot to people who can see, but the “alt” text is what is read by the accessibility machines that read the web site to the user.
This has been an excellent experience for me to truly open my eyes to a new world and change my paradigm of what XHTML can do.