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Before starting any new project, there are a few settings that you want to review and set that are going to be specific to that site. None of these settings are as potentially as important as Accessibility. In simple terms, Accessibility refers to how your site's content is accessed by all users. It's easy to get in the mindset of designing specifically for say a browser, but the truth of the matter is that browsers are only one of the client types potentially accessing your site's content. Mobile devices, tablets, and screen readers are just a few of the devices that can now access your content, and frankly, that number is exploding every year.
Now, while it's obviously a good idea to provide your content to everyone that tries to access it, in some cases it's also the law. Section 508 of the Americans with Disabilities Act states that any website paid for with Federal funds need to meet a certain Standards Accessibility Guideline. Now, the good news is that making your content accessible isn't all that hard. It just requires your attention throughout the design process. To make it even easier for you, Dreamweaver has many built-in preferences that assist you in making your document successful.
So in this movie, we're going to take a quick look at setting your accessibility preferences to let Dreamweaver automate many of those accessibility- related tasks for your sites. So once again, I am going to go back to my Preferences. So I am just going to go right up to Edit>Preferences, and of course, on the Mac, you will go to Dreamweaver>Preferences. Okay, I want to go up to the top, and select Accessibility, it's the second category down, and as you can see, we don't have a whole lot of options here. As a matter of fact, you also notice that the default settings in your Preferences, is for Accessibility options to be turned on.
So this is actually something that you willfully have to turn off. So what's Dreamweaver going to do here? Well, when we insert objects like Form Objects, Frames, you're not inserting frames, are you? You're not? Okay, good, thank you! Media like Video and Images, on the page, what Dreamweaver is going to do for you is any feature such as for example Alt tags on images that can help make that content more accessible, it's going to bring that dialog box up for you first. So it sort of reminds you that, hey, this is the information you need.
So when you're placing Tables on the page or when you're placing Images on the page or Form Objects, Dreamweaver is going to prompt you and say, hey, this is the information that you need to make this content a little bit more accessible. So it just makes it part of your workflow, and I really don't recommend turning these off at all unless you have a good reason to do that. I am going to go ahead and click OK just to accept the default preferences. And I am going to show you one of these accessibility features in action. So I have the index page opened up from the 03_03 directory, and what I am going to do is I am going to scroll down on my page, and I can see that I have this little article right down here that says Victor Stuesse, and that is how you pronounce his name, Stuesse, he wins the Lacie Award.
Okay, well I need a picture of Victor, and I just happen to have one. If I go over to Files panel, and I open up the _images directory, I can see that right there I have a file called award.jpg. Now, we have a whole chapter on images. So in terms of placing image content on the page, and things that you can do with images, we'll talk about that a little bit later on. What we're focusing on right now is Accessibility. So I am going to take this, and simply drag-and-drop it right here at the beginning of the paragraph. Now, as soon as I do that, do I see my image? No, I do not, I see the Image Tag Accessibility Attributes.
So the first thing that it's going to ask me is what Alt text do you want for this? And I am just going to type in Victor Stuesse wins Lacie Award. Fantastic! Now, you might be wondering about that next option which is Long description. Man, oh, man, if you want some fun reading, go out on Google HTML5 Long description. There is a battle raging about whether Long description should be allowed to come back in. Essentially what Long description allows you to do is point to a longer description.
So let's say you have a chart where you are showing the sales results of 2011 or 2012. Long description will allow you to substitute text file for that, so screen reader would read that text file rather than just describe in graphic. It's a valuable accessibility attribute. But, it got ripped out of HTML, and now there's some battling about exactly how this type of functionality should occur. So, we also have a link right here to Accessibility preferences. So if you're tired of this dialog box coming up every time you place an image, or other element on the page, you can again go back to those preferences and turn them off.
Again, I don't recommend that. I am going to click OK. There's the image on the page, and if you look right down here in the Properties Inspector, there is my Alt text. So obviously, there's more than one place within the Dreamweaver interface where you can enter in that information, but what that does for you is it sort of prompts you, it reminds you that you need that information, and after a while it just becomes part of the workflow. For the most part, those Accessibility preferences in Dreamweaver, they're really the type of preferences that you just set and forget, and you let Dreamweaver kind of do its thing, and as matter of fact, if you don't do anything, then by default, Dreamweaver is going to prompt you for the necessary accessibility information.
As I mentioned before, I really can't think of any type of compelling reason to turn them off unless you just don't like to be prompted for it. I want to stress also very clearly that while these settings will save you a ton of time and potential errors, like if you forget to set all of your Alt text and you have to go back and do it for the entire project or you just forget about it altogether, it can save you from that fate. But however, these settings don't guarantee that your site will meet accessibility requirements. So, you really ought to look at these settings as more way of designing things the right way, making sure the proper information is there, and as a way to save time while you're doing it.
The responsibility to create accessible sites and content is still on you as the Web designer, and there are some accessibility requirements that are not met by these preferences. So obviously, as a Web designer, you need to learn more about this. So I'm going to show you a couple of websites that can help you out. And the first site I want to take you to is the government's website, Section508.gov. This is a great site to go to, to learn a little bit more about Web accessibility, and how to ensure that your site is meeting 508 requirements. I also recommend you take a look at the W3C's Web Accessibility Initiative page.
The Web Accessibility Initiative is an organization that's dedicated to defining accessibility standards across the Web. So this is a great site to go to, to learn more about the standardization of accessibility options. I'd also like to mention that will continue to focus on I accessibility throughout this title. As we discuss images, forms, tables, and other types of page elements, we'll discuss their accessibility requirements and any assistance that Dreamweaver can give you in ensuring that those elements are accessible.
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