About Hal’s Quotes & Notes: Accessibility

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When I started this collection, I lacked experience in making Web pages accessible to a wide variety of browsers and users. I had no plan to put it online, and many features were not yet created or even imagined. In consequence, the pages were complex and highly dependent on frames and graphics.

Even worse, the whole thing relied on JavaScript. I hoped to minimize file size, reducing storage space and download time, by generating a lot of HTML in the browser. When I added new features like topical links, integrating them with the scripts fattened the files anyway.

In the meantime, I learned about accessibility issues, and I began to apply my new understanding to other sites I have developed. WebAIM (Web Accessibility In Mind) has been my primary source of information; I recommend it.

Converting two years’ accumulation of material to an accessible format is not easy, but I’m pleased with the result. The new format doesn’t rely on scripts, doesn’t use frames, and uses graphics only for embellishment (except for occasional side references to the graphics themselves). Improvement continues as I tackle resizability and clearer link text.

I have tried to eliminate mouse dependencies. Some links might seem redundant to most users, but just try navigating with only the keyboard! Some of these extra links are hidden to keep them out of the way of conventional mouse users.

I may have been less successful in accommodating screen readers and other aids, and keeping the color schemes readable for all. It’s an ongoing process; the work on resizable fonts, for example, was added later. You can email me about remaining barriers. I promise to take them seriously.

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Background graphic copyright © 2004 by Hal Keen