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Enhanced W3C 508 Accessibility Capabilities

The 1998 Americans for Disabilities Act required that businesses to provide reasonable means of accessibility to individuals with physical disabilities or limited capabilities. The Federal Law required businesses to provide wheelchair ramps, lowered water fountains, and arm rails. The ADA also included section 508, which "requires that Federal agencies' electronic and information technology is accessible to people with disabilities." (reprinted from www.section508.gov)

The Internet and web-sites can easily be designed for every person in the world to be able to access it regardless of limitation. As the platform matures and bandwidth gets faster, Sites are becoming more and more multimedia driven. Unfortunately though, the latest plug-ins, multimedia, images, graphics, even fonts have created an almost impassible block for the person with disabilities. W3C has compiled a list of guidelines and standards that a web-site should meet in order for anyone, regardless of limitation, can access and enjoy the site.

While most of the 508 guidelines are designer oriented, NOF is one of the only Site generation tool products that has provided means of assisting designers in producing HTML code conforming to these guidelines. And in the latest version, those features have been refined even further.

These are enhanced by the new ability to create headers in a table and "blank" alt tags for images if the designer does not type in the text for the alt tag


Table Headers

Table headers can be made at the row or cell level anywhere in Fusion

Individual cell or entire row can be delared as a Table Header


Blank "alt" Tags

Visually impaired and blind people rely on the alt tags of images to describe images they may not be able to see. Non-existent alt tags for tables and images are unacceptable under the W3C 508 Accessibility Standards. Fusion 7 now creates "empty" alt tags if the user does not type in text into the alt fields of the Image Properties.

Alt Tags assist in Accessibility for those with impaired vision

Creating an image in MX and 7 allows the designer to enter an alt tag, However, in 7, the generated HTML defaults to creating an empty alt tag if the designer does not type one in:

New Version pads an empty alt tag if the value in the Picture Properties is left blank

The same HTML in MX omits the alt tag altogether if the designer does not type it in:

MX omits the alt tag if the value in the Picture Properties is left blank


For More information:

Internet Accessibility, Standards, and Guidelines:

www.w3.org - World Wide Web Consortium
www.w3.org/WAI/ - Web Access Initiative
www.section508.gov/ - Federal Government site on Section 508
www.webreview.com/2001/07_27/webauthors/index01.shtml - WebReview about ADA and the 508
 

Accessibility Checkers:

http://www.temple.edu/inst_disabilities/piat/wave/ - Pennsylvania Initiative on Asst. Technology
www.aprompt.snow.utoronto.ca/ - A-prompt, provides both English and French translations on site
ugweb.cs.ualberta.ca/%7Egerald/lynx-me.cgi - To see what your URL may look like in a text based Lynx style
www.websavvy-access.org/resources/webacc.shtml - Accessibility Resources from WebSavvy



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