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From Kim Haase <Camilla.Ha...@Sun.COM>
Subject Re: Accessibility - Documentation checks
Date Wed, 30 Aug 2006 19:30:08 GMT
Laura Stewart wrote On 08/30/06 12:27,:
> Has anyone checked the Derby documentation for accessibility?
> 
> Accessibility is important for people who have disabilities.  People
> who are blind or have low vision use screen readers that use text to
> speech to read software or screen magnifiers that enlarge information
> on the screen.
> 
> I know that images must have text alternatives so they can be read by
> assistive technology. And links should be accessible.
> 
> There are probably other things that should be checked as well... does
> anyone know what these other things are?
> 

Hi, Laura,

That's a very good question. At Sun we have to make both figures and
tables accessible. Here is a snippet of instructions from our style guide:

* Identify the nontext elements that are included in a document.

Nontext elements include graphics, mathematical equations, tables, and
multimedia content.

* Create short alternative text for each nontext element.

Short alternative text, which cannot exceed 150 characters, is required
for each nontext element. This text enables assistive access tools to
"read" the nontext element.

---

How this works out in practice --

For figures in HTML, the alternative text is in the alt attribute of the
img tag. DITA has an alt subelement for the image tag, and the Derby
docs seem to use it pretty consistently, except for the copyright files'
new logo image. We probably need a JIRA issue to add the alt subelement
to those files.

For tables in HTML, it's the summary attribute. I notice in the HTML
docs this field is always present but empty. There appears to be no DITA
table subelement or attribute that translates into the summary
attribute. I tried the desc subelement, but this just gets munged into
the figure caption in HTML. Seems like a flaw in DITA, but I'm not sure
what to do about it.

I found another requirement in an accessibility presentation for course
developers: "Tagging of content must be meaningful. For example, table
heading cells should be tagged as table heading cells in HTML, rather
than as table data cells with text tagged as bold." I think the DITA
docs are okay on this item, judging from a spot check -- every table I
have looked at has a thead element, though it is optional. And
meaningful content tagging is integral to DITA in general.

Kim


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