Web Accessibility Book

3 comments | Posted: 18 September 06 in Books, by Nathan Smith

Web Accessibility Web Accessibility: Web Standards and Regulatory Compliance is an amazingly comprehensive guide, for the 648 pages that it takes up. I know that sounds like a lot, but considering the sum total of the WCAG 2.0 documents is 458 pages, this book has done a great job in covering the themes of accessibility and capturing the essence of what we as web developers need to concern ourselves with. For the most part it is pragmatic rather than dogmatic.

It goes way beyond covering the WCAG, and looks into Section 508 specifications as well (which, ironically is in tables). You know that service called Cynthia Says? Cynthia D. Waddell, the woman for whom that program is named helped author this book. She and others cover many legal cases in which precedent was set for accessibility, both for and against. This includes regulations from: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, European Union, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Thailand, United Kingdom and the United States.

Needless to say, these people know what they are talking about. They cover some of the potential pitfalls when designing websites, and do so from a variety of vantage points. This helps to debunk the myth that accessibility is only about blind people, or can be fixed by simply adding proper alt text attributes to your inline images. Some of the key themes covered were linearization of site content, both with tables and without, data forms, JavaScript / Ajax, CSS and Flash. Yes, Flash can be accessible when the designer does it right.

So, on the whole, I was very impressed with this book, and learned a great deal about the many intricacies of screen readers. I mean, I always thought browser differences were bad, but compared to the many screen reader quirks, wow. Anyway, this book is indeed a “must have” as is touted on the friends of ED website. For those of you going to Gospelcon this week, I will have a few free copies to give away at my session. For those who aren’t, be sure to keep this book in mind when you need a good acessibility resource.

Discuss This Topic

  1. 1 Rick Curran

    Nathan, Gospelcon looks interesting, are you going to do any kind of write-up about? It looks like something I’d like to go to but being in Scotland I obviously won’t be there! I’d love to find out more about what goes on there.

    Cheers,

    Rick

     
  2. 2 Nate Klaiber

    My copy of this book should arrive in the mail today. I am very interested just after reading the sample chapter from the FOE site. I am glad that you said it was more pragmatic than dogmatic, that was one of my initial worries when looking at it.

    Peace,
    Nate

     
  3. 3 Nathan Smith

    Rick: There will be plenty of photos and live blogging of Gospelcon on their site, with podcasts added once the conference is over. Also, when I get back I will be posting my session slides for anyone and everyone to download and read.

     

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