Digital accessibility course – week 4

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This week is about making web content accessible.

Although I am familiar with HTML in my work, I have to check my knowledge again by reviewing the Web Content Accessibility Guideline (WCAG2.0) and the Web Accessibility Tutorials. I am glad to read the difference between WCAG1.0 and WCAG2.0 too. I realised that I still make mistakes when using “alt” to describe image.

The WCAG2.0 provides 12 guidelines and 4 principles for creating accessible web content. As more and more multimedia resources added into our e-learning system, I noticed the guideline 1.2 “Time-based Media: Provide alternatives for time-based media”. It’s very useful and can help us to reduce accessible barriers when creating the online resources.

With WAI-ARIA, developers can make advanced web applications accessible and usable to people with disabilities. Reading the Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines (ATAG), I started to think if Xerte Online Toolkit (1) has made the authoring tool itself accessible, and (2) helps authors produce accessible content.

There are 3 levels of conformance:

  • Level A (lowest): It is the minimum level of conformance, which means the web page satisfies all the Level A Success Criteria, or a conforming alternate version is provided.
  • Level AA: The Web page satisfies all the Level A and Level AA Success Criteria, or a Level AA conforming alternate version is provided.
  • Level AAA (highest): The Web page satisfies all the Level A, Level AA and Level AAA Success Criteria, or a Level AAA conforming alternate version is provided.

The important thing to know is that WCAG2.0 does not cover all accessibility problems, therefore conducting conformance checking of WCAG2.0 does not prove your website support accessibility to everyone.

The best way of testing a website accessibility is to combine the conformance testing and user testing as both ways have pros and cons.

Conformance testing includes two types testing below. However, it does not involve real users, but user testing may be time consuming, expensive and having difficulties to find suitable real users.

  • automatic testing, which is using programming to test. You can use WAVE and AChecker.
  • manual testing, which is experts inspection.

Through an example of improvement of a web site by applying the WCAG 2.0, I see the differences between applying WCAG2.0 and not applying it. It’s a good way to make us think about the online resources that we have developed, and what we can do.

Similar to previous weeks, I learnt some useful resources:

Two SSL checking tools

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Two SSL certificate checkers:

MYIP.MS

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Come across the MYIP.MS site and may use it later.

14 good free website generators

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14 good free website generators:

  • Biz.ly offers free website hosting services and easy to use web site building tools with many free web templates for people to create their own free sites. See a review.
  • Jimdo is a WYSIWYG web hosting service. It offers JimdoFree, a free web hosting service, JimdoPro and JimdoBusiness, both premium services. See reviews from WebsiteBuilderExpert and WebTutorial.
  • Moomfruit offers a free website and online shop builder that allows people build their own professional looking site quickly and easily. It’s a London-based company and the free online service is not advertise free. See reviews from WebsiteBuilderGuide and OnlineIncomeJournal.
  • Puzl is a free website builder which has the objective to help people create businesses websites. See a review from SuperWebsiteBuilders.
  • SnackWebsites is quick, easy and mobile friendly, perfect for personal or business websites. See a review from ILoveFreeSoftware.
  • uCoz  provides free unlimited space hosting, free web builder for blogs, forums, photo albums and guestbooks.  See a review from SuperWebsiteBuilders.
  • Weebly is an American web-hosting service that features a “drag-and-drop” website builder. An very easy-to-use service. See reviews from SiteBuilderReport and WebsiteToolTester.
  • Webnode is a remarkably simple tool that lets you create a website for free with no technical skills needed. See reviews from SiteBuilderReport and WebsiteToolTester.
  • Webs is provides free hosting that allows people to make their own free website with photos, videos and e-commerce. See reviews from WhoIsHostingThis and WebsiteBuilderExpert.
  • WebStarts is a free website builder that provides everything people need to maintain their own websites, including web address, hosting, and website design tools. See reviews from SiteBuilderReport and SuperbWebsiteBuilders.
  • WebStartToday is and the free service is for the first year on a subdomain. See reviews from AcrisDesign and SuperWebsiteBuilders.
  • Wix is a cloud-based web development platform that allows users to create professional HTML5 websites and mobile sites, through the use of online “Drag & Drop” tools. See reviews from TechRepublic and SiteBuilderReport.
  • WordPress is a free and open source blogging tool and a content management system (CMS) based on PHP and MySQL, which runs on a web hosting service. See a review from SiteBuilderReview.
  • Yola offers free hosting and a free website address. See reviews from HostingReview and WebTutorial.

Other resources:

Web browser detection

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I came across browserling, a website that allows people to test a website within cross browsers through one browser.  Then I think I may list some useful browser detection sites here as major web browsers are full of ambition to update their products.  As a user, we know that the web browser provides the “Add-ons” feature for us to manage plugins, however to some extent this feature does not display key details of a website if we want to know whether it runs on the browser/machine. Thus, a browser check becomes handy.

  • Mozilla Plugin Check and Updates tells what plugins you’ve installed and whether the plugin needs to update or not. It works best with Firefox 3.6+, Opera 10.5, Safari 4, Chrome 4.
  • PluginDetect is a Javascript library that detects plugins in major browsers (e.g., Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Opera, or SeaMonkey) on your computer.
  • Detect My Browser gives you information about your web browser and its plugins, CSS3 and HTML 5 capabilities. It uses Javascript libraries for the detection of your browser.
  • Detect mobile browsers provides open source scripts such as Apache, JavaScript, PHP, ASP, ColdFusion, C#, .NET, Python, JSP and Rails to check your mobile.
  • What is my browser.com shows your IP address and some frequently asked browser settings.

Understanding people in design

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I enjoyed reading the book <<100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know about People>> written by Dr Susan M. Weinschenk (2011). Indeed, I will recommend it.  I thought it’s a technology book, actually it more likes an interesting humanistic book with real science and research examples.

I made notes of some tips that are particularly call my attention:

  • Use patterns as much as possible, since people will automatically be looking for them. Use grouping and white space to create patterns (p.8).
  • People recognize and react to faces on Web pages faster than anything else on the page (at least by those who are not autistic) (p.10).
  • The “Chromostereopsis” effect is strongest with red and blue. (p.22)
  • If you could limit the information you give people to four items, that would actually be a great idea, but you don’t have to be that drastic. You can use more pieces of information as long as you group and chunk (p.50).
  • You can store concrete words (table, chair) in long-term memory more easily than abstract words (justice, democracy) (p.54).
  • People reconstruct memories each time they remember them (p.57).
  • Mind wandering is similar to but not the same as daydreaming… During everyday activities your minds wander up to 30 percent of the time, and in some cases, such as driving on an uncrowded highway, it might be as high as 70 percent (p.68).
  • People can’t actually multitask (p.105).
  • Danger, food, sex, movement, faces, and stories get the most attention (p.108).
  • The dopamine loop may helps us understand why people are addicted to the Internet (p.124). This article provides more details.
  • People will satisfy, that is, look for the good-enough solution rather than the optimal solution (p.135).
  • People lie most on the phone, and least with pen and paper (p.155).
  • You don’t necessarily need humor or jokes to get people to laugh. Normal conversation and interactions will produce more laughter than intentional use of human or jokes (p.160).
  • If you want people to laugh, then laugh yourself. Laughter is contagious (p.160).
  • People who are busy are happier (p.174).
  • The unconscious acts more quickly than the conscious mind. This means that people often take actions or have preferences, but cannot explain why the prefer what they do (p.205).

In this book, some web sources will be helpful later:

In addition, some recommended videos are worth viewing:

Webs

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Webs is a free website builder application, which allow you to make a website in minutes for individuals, groups, or small businesses to share photos and videos, open a store, and build a member community.

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