Public School Web Site Accessibility
danc at cac.washington.edu
Thu Feb 7 09:37:33 PST 2002
Ms. Cook has provided a very comprehensive answer as to the legal reasons
for the district providing accessible online resources as well as some
practical ones. We are also seeing increased demand for resources to be
available via a variety of user agents besides standard web browsers on
what people think of as a 'computer.' PDAs, cell phones, and devices we
probably haven't thought of yet will be accessing Web-based information
and have different viewing requirements than good ol' Netscape or Internet
Explorer. Forward-thinking web designers will keep *all* potential users
in mind when designing their site.
As for deciding between different high-level standards, at the University
of Washington we are recommending the Section 508 standards in our
guidelines (www.washington.edu/computing/accessible/). We have found them
to be comprehensive, clearly written and easiest for web designers to use.
It may not be neccessary for a school district to have standards or
guidelines of their own, but I'd think they should be at least considering
them. Creating proper HTML needn't be an added burden. Certainly
retrofitting existing inaccessible pages is expensive, but creating new
ones is definitely not.
Accessibility is a subset of usability. If web designers aren't thinking
about usability throughout the process of building a site, they should be.
-*- Dan Comden danc at cac.washington.edu
Adaptive Technology Lab http://www.washington.edu/computing/atl/
University of Washington http://www.washington.edu/doit/
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