Web Accessibility Initiative, Accessible Rich Internet Applications – WAI-ARIA

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I thought it was appropriate to use this photograph of two older women in a dark alley, created by scaffolding on the York Street side of the Queen Victoria Building, to accompany this article on the Internet accessibility change I made to my website.

Not everyone who surfs the net has perfect eyesight of mobility. Many people have to use specially created software to get advantage of the Internet. Majority of the pages are not really friendly to them. There are many reasons why a web page may or may not be suitable for people with special needs but in the end it all comes down to structure, markup, readability and support for special browsers and readers.

Over last few weeks I have been very busy updating this photo blog. Lots of work went into improving the layout of the page resulting into changed positions of many elements. After the basic layout, I have updated the structure of the page to HTML5 for better separation of the content from the presentation. Although invisible to the readers the page now has far fewer “coded” sections. Also, the style sheet used for the presentation underwent a major rewrite resulting in considerable size reduction, improved efficiency and this faster page rendering.

Subsequently, I have implemented WAI-ARIA roles to the content. This allows people with disabilities to navigate the website with improved efficiency, as all major elements of the page now have special codes aiding special accessibility browsers and readers.

Finally you may have noticed a change in the colour scheme. I have used Colour Contrast Analyser to find elements of the page, which may have been hard to read or distinguish due to insufficient contrast. I hope this will help people with the page readability. The end result may be have less of a “designer” feel but vastly improved usability, or as it is called this days “customer experience”.

I still have many plans for updates but most of them will be under the hood. Most are designed to improve consistency of code generated by both WordPress and Gallery 2.