Podcast 28: Understanding accessibility guidelines

Paul Boag

Following a short break, boagworld.com is back in business with the 28th episode of its “web design podcast”. In this weeks show we get “down and dirty” with web accessibility, including a step-by-step tutorial into the WAI guidelines.

Download this show.

This week’s podcast works through each and every checkpoint explaining what it means and how to go about complying with it.

A big thank you

Marcus and I would like to say a big thank you to all of you who took the time to email us and moan about the absence of boagworld.com. It made us feel loved and appreciated, as well as a bit guilty! Unfortunately, paid client work has to come first but hopefully we make up for it with this episode of boagworld.com that aims to get you up and running with those pesky accessibility checkpoints.

What does accessibility mean in practice?

Whether you are a website owner or a web designer you have probably heard of the Web Accessibility Initiative, but do you really know what their guidelines mean in practice?

Many website owners specify WAI compliancy in the invitations to tender they send out. However, few know what compliance will mean in real terms for their site. Equally many web designers are forced to bluff their way in web accessibility without ever having a firm grasp of the subject.

Inaccessible, accessibility guidelines!

The problem is that the WAI guidelines on web accessibility are far from accessible! The list of guidelines is intimidating and incredibly confusing in parts.

This week’s podcast works through each and every checkpoint explaining what it means and how to go about complying with it.

Okay, we admit this isn’t the most riveting subject in the world and that this episode goes on a bit, but you will thank us next time you want to create a compliant site!

The show is based around the guidelines listed by priority found on the W3C site. We found this priority orientated approach much friendly than the default checkpoint list. Open up the priority checklist, sit back, relax and let us make all things clear… well nearly.

Automated checkers

Although we talk about the limitations of automated accessibility checkers on the show we do recommend that you take a few minutes to check out Bobby. If you haven’t heard of Bobby before it is an excellent place to start checking the accessibility of your site. Bobby cannot check everything but it will guide you through the process of assessing your site.

Your opinion

One thing that became apparent from doing this episode is that many of the accessibility checkpoints are subjective. If you disagree with our interpretation of the guidelines or are still confused over some of the checkpoints, post your thoughts here and we will do our best to respond.