Accessibility

Here you can find a PDF of my essay on Accessibility .

This assignment was to assess our ePortfolios on how we can make them more accessible and make changes.  I started by adding an extension to my Google Chrome browser called The WAVE Evaluation tool. It works by adding visual indicators to the pages you are viewing suggesting possible changes to make them more accessible. For example, when I activated WAVE on my ePortfolio “About” page, I got an indicator that a second heading was present. When I click on the indicator, WAVE opens up a side bar explaining what the indicator means and offers suggestions on how to improve the issue. In this case, it suggests that I make sure the sub heading is truly a heading, and it is structured correctly in the page outline.

In terms of accessibility, when WAVE brought this heading to my attention I immediately realized that indeed the sub heading was not quite necessary. It was more of a humorous element, and it was in italics. It was probably not very easy to read and in the end I eliminated the humor, and simply labeled it Educational Technology at ECSU.  I also increased the size of all headers on the portfolio to make them more easily readable.  Correction. I attempted to make these changes. After arriving at a layout that I was happy with I attempted to save it but it appears that I need to have a paid subscription to WordPress in order to initiate these changes.  I did change the copy in the subheader though.

One issue of note with WAVE is that it identifies several elements of the WordPress Theme as possible problems and these things do not necessarily count as issues to improve.  It identified the “edit” button as a blank link with no text.  I wouldn’t know how to change the edit button at all.

Up next I used information I found on w3.org concerning making my page more accessible.  The Web Accessibility Initiative.  One section of this page discusses making the page more easily navigable.  It gives a list of ways I can do so. One suggestion, which was very simple, is to provide definitions for words that may be difficult to understand.  I had not thought of this easy to implement idea. I added a Glossary page. Another suggestion provided by w3.org was to make sure that all menu items were clearly explained as to their purpose. I added that information to links that were missing it.

I think it is worth mentioning that most of the website evaluation tools that I looked at require excessive data or fees to use. The ones that work provide information only useful to those able to edit HTML, or those who have paid memberships to WordPress.  I don’t really have either, so without that ability, I cannot quite make use of the information I gained from pages like WAVE and Mauve, which also helps to validate sites.

One of the major accessibility issues discussed by the checklist is simply to make sure that the fonts are the right proportion, and colors are user friendly. I did that by making sure each page from my chosen template was crisp and easy on the eyes with the proper amount of contrast.

References

Abdou-Zhara, S. (Ed.). (2012). Accessibility Principles [Draft] How People with Disabilities Use the Web. Retrieved May 19, 2015, from http://www.w3.org/WAI/intro/people-use-web/principles#navigable

MAUVE Accessibility Validator. (2014). Retrieved May 20, 2015, from http://giove.isti.cnr.it:8080/MauveWeb/

WAVE Evaluation Tool. (2015, April 7). Retrieved May 19, 2015, from https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/wave-evaluation-tool/jbbplnpkjmmeebjpijfedlgcdilocofh?hl=en-US

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