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What does accessibility mean?

What does accessibility mean? provides you with in-depth training on Web. Taught by Zoe Gillenwater … Show More

Web Accessibility Principles

with Zoe Gillenwater

Video: What does accessibility mean?

What does accessibility mean? provides you with in-depth training on Web. Taught by Zoe Gillenwater as part of the Web Accessibility Principles
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  1. 2m 0s
    1. Welcome
      1m 3s
    2. Using the exercise files
  2. 33m 15s
    1. What does accessibility mean?
      5m 51s
    2. How does accessibility help your users?
      3m 30s
    3. Experiencing a website via a screen reader
      5m 46s
    4. How does accessibility help you and your clients?
      3m 9s
    5. Overview of Section 508 standards
      5m 51s
    6. Overview of WCAG standards
      6m 4s
    7. Understanding consistency and semantic markup
      3m 4s
  3. 54m 30s
    1. Understanding screen readers and accessibility tools
      6m 12s
    2. Getting accessible browsers
      5m 40s
    3. Customizing Firefox for accessibility testing
      5m 53s
    4. Using custom accessibility toolbars
      5m 28s
    5. Using Fangs and the Color Contrast Analyzer
      5m 30s
    6. Accessibility tools to bookmark
      5m 53s
    7. Using automated accessibility checking tools
      4m 57s
    8. Setting up the JAWS screen reader on Windows
      6m 42s
    9. Using the VoiceOver screen reader on Mac OS X
      5m 52s
    10. Setting Dreamweaver accessibility preferences
      2m 23s
  4. 26m 10s
    1. Avoiding tables for layout
      3m 30s
    2. Using CSS for layout
      2m 40s
    3. Creating a fixed-width layout
      5m 51s
    4. Creating an elastic layout
      3m 50s
    5. Creating a liquid layout
      3m 4s
    6. Customizing a liquid layout
      7m 15s
  5. 1h 6m
    1. Specifying the language
      3m 42s
    2. Setting page titles
      2m 16s
    3. Setting headings and paragraphs
      9m 55s
    4. Styling headings
      9m 56s
    5. Hiding section headings from sighted users
      6m 41s
    6. Styling text for readability
      6m 40s
    7. Ensuring proper color contrast
      6m 36s
    8. Creating text emphasis
      4m 29s
    9. Indicating quotations
      4m 28s
    10. Creating basic lists
      4m 16s
    11. Styling lists
      7m 15s
  6. 1h 15m
    1. Using lists for navigation
      6m 45s
    2. Creating a horizontal navigation bar
      13m 25s
    3. Creating a vertical navigation bar
      11m 44s
    4. Adding skip navigation links
      11m 59s
    5. Hiding skip navigation links
      6m 16s
    6. Proper link text and title attributes
      6m 10s
    7. Opening new windows
      4m 27s
    8. Accessibility limitations of fly-out menus
      6m 30s
    9. Creating an accessible fly-out menu
      8m 38s
  7. 27m 54s
    1. Proper ALT text for navigation images
      4m 57s
    2. Proper ALT text for decorative images
      5m 19s
    3. Adding ALT text to an existing site
      6m 8s
    4. Adding ALT text to image maps
      5m 58s
    5. Describing complex graphics
      5m 32s
  8. 34m 0s
    1. Using tables for data
      3m 0s
    2. Creating header cells
      4m 4s
    3. Adding table captions and summaries
      9m 9s
    4. Styling tables
      5m 19s
    5. Applying header cells to complex tables
      6m 52s
    6. Adding id and headers attributes
      5m 36s
  9. 42m 0s
    1. Understanding form accessibility issues
      3m 4s
    2. Labeling form fields
      6m 9s
    3. Adding fieldsets and legends
      4m 42s
    4. Moving forms out of tables
      3m 44s
    5. Cleaning up a form's appearance
      4m 53s
    6. Aligning labels and fields using CSS
      9m 39s
    7. Indicating required fields
      6m 11s
    8. Dealing with CAPTCHA
      3m 38s
  10. 7m 29s
    1. The Text-Only technique
      3m 21s
    2. The Access Keys technique
      2m 35s
    3. The Tab Index technique
      1m 33s
  11. 17s
    1. Goodbye

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What does accessibility mean?
Video Duration: 5m 51s 6h 10m Appropriate for all


What does accessibility mean? provides you with in-depth training on Web. Taught by Zoe Gillenwater as part of the Web Accessibility Principles

View Course Description

Accessibility on the web has been an issue for over a decade, and it remains a crucial--but often overlooked--element of web design. Instructor Zoe Gillenwater explains the concept of accessibility as it applies to the web, and describes how it affects the audience. She also covers how to set up accessibility testing, and how to apply accessibility principles to new and existing sites using standards-compliant markup and CSS. Exercise files accompany the tutorials.

Topics include:
  • Understanding Flex programming languages

What does accessibility mean?

>> Before we talk about how to make your websites accessible, we need to give a definition of what accessibility actually is and what it isn't. Web accessibility is basically allowing people with disabilities to use the web. This includes all disabilities that would affect web access. For instance, visual disabilities, such as blindness, tunnel vision or even low vision; auditory disabilities, such as deafness and speech disabilities. Physical limitations can also affect use of the web, such as even arthritis or Parkinson's Disease; learning disabilities, such as dyslexia, and other cognitive and neurological disabilities.

There are some concepts that web accessibility is frequently confused with. Accessibility overlaps with, but is not the same, as usability. Usability is designing web pages to be more effective, efficient and satisfying for all people. Accessibility addresses issues that put people with disabilities at a disadvantage when they're using the web. Accessibility is also not the same as device independence. This is the concept of designing websites so that they can be used with a wide variety of devices that have access to the web, including small screen devices, such as mobile phones and PDAs, and older browsers.

However, improving the accessibility of your site will often improve how your site performs in terms of its usability and device independence at the same time. So don't worry too much about the semantics of what each term means. Rather, focus on putting features into your site that will help users make sense of it and navigate around whether or not those features are called accessibility or usability. Accessibility is also something that is relative. So there's some good news and bad news with that. The good news is there's no such thing as inaccessible.

But that doesn't mean that you have no work to do because the bad news is there's no such thing as accessible either. While there's no such thing as an inaccessible page, there are pages or pieces of content that can be completely inaccessible to certain groups of people with disabilities. So basically, accessibility is a range. It's not possible to make everything accessible to everyone. But you can make content more accessible to more people. As we will talk about in later movies, there are different standards and guidelines available for web accessibility.

Different standards can result in greater or less accessibility. Basically, your job is to maximize the number of people who can use the site while balancing other requirements for the site, such as funding or branding. Also remember that accessibility doesn't have to be a painful requirement that you're forced to add to your sites. It doesn't require much extra work when accessibility features are done as part of the initial development of the site. So make sure you plan for it upfront. This will be less expensive than fixing accessibility problems that are found later.

If you already have pages that you've made and you need to make them compliant with accessibility guidelines, keep in mind that even small changes that you make can have a big impact on making them more accessible. Another myth about accessibility is that the sites that are accessible are simple, plain or ugly. This doesn't have to be the case, though, if you keep in mind the concept of progressive enhancement. This means starting out with a solid structure of content that can be accessed by a wide variety of devices and people and then adding on layers of style and functionality for those that can use it.

There are a number of websites that illustrate how attractive accessible web design can be. Three of these sites are listed here. If you want to pause the movie at this point to write down the URLs, this would be a good time to do so before we look at these actual pages. These three sites are examples of sites that collect screen shots of other great looking websites to use as inspiration when you are creating your own design. This first site is at not only shows you screen shots of the websites that it features that are accessible, but also attractive, and includes a write-up of each of these sites, detailing what features are accessible in each one. We can scroll down the page to view the beginning of each of these articles about each site. The name of the site is given. A screen shot is provided. And you can continue reading the article to view all of the comments on its accessibility features. Let's switch over to another site now. This site is at

This site is dedicated to showing websites that are made with CSS and include a liquid type of design, which we'll talk about how to make in a later movie. This type of layout is often more accessible. Although CSS, by itself, does not guarantee that a website will be accessible, it is a great tool down that path. If we scroll down the page here, we'll see the latest three screen shots of sites that have been added to the gallery. You can click on any of these screen shots to go to the website that is featured.

Now let's look at the third site. This site is at Again, this site showcases web designs that are made with CSS. These designs are shown in screen shots in this third column of the page. A great feature of this website is the news articles that are listed on the left side of the page. You can use these articles to learn more about how to create CSS-based designs, such as the ones you see in this site. So in this movie, we've learned what web accessibility is, some of the types of disabilities that it's meant to address, and seen some examples of websites that can offer you inspiration when making your own accessible designs.

In the next video, we'll learn more about the people who are affected by web accessibility and the benefits that it can give them when they are browsing the web.

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