This is very old. Please don’t take all of this to reflect the current state of this site (a lot has changed), or my views concerning accessibility. I’m working on a new essay. Please check back soon. Thanks…
Being a person who wanders the world from the seat of his pants, literally, I know, all to well what it feels like to be excluded simply based on something that cannot be helped, changed or, in most cases, easily accommodated.
Sadly, certain aspects of life remain unforgiving — speaking from a matter of personal experience — to an individual who differs from the assumed â€œnorm.â€ A portion of the world is everything but available to everyone. The internet is no exceptionâ€¦
Sloppy design and ignorant attitudes have largely contributed to a hostile environment for most people, at one time or another on the web. The primary objective of â€œweb accessibilityâ€ should be to make all information, regardless of intent easily reached, used and enjoyed by everyone. Prior to 2001 at the earliest and yesterday being the latest, time spent on the web was anything but â€œenjoyedâ€ by everyone (figuratively speaking).
Thankfully times are changing. The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the main international standards organization has been dedicated to solving issues, such as â€œaccessibilityâ€ since itâ€™s inception in 1994. A frustrating internet could, potentially be a thing of the past (if they could rid the web of itâ€™s biggest frustration, weâ€™d really be cookinâ€™).
Granted I hardly know what Iâ€™m talking about. But from what Iâ€™ve witnessed in my travels and read on the subject, â€œaccessibilityâ€ still requires consideration and will always remain relevant. Any endeavor that aids a persons comfort using a website rarely goes unnoticed.
After all a website that is closed off as a result of poor development is hardly practical. If not irrelevant.
â€œConsider someone elseâ€¦â€
Why do I care about “accessibility?” Because things were once quite different for me. Where “accessible technology” allowed me to â€œtypeâ€ something as seemingly simple as â€™shitâ€™ on a computer screenâ€¦
I once, albeit briefly needed a â€œhead switchâ€ to interface a GUI and, as such am vaguely familiar (memories of that time of my life are not so reliable) with the various obstacles a person may have interacting with a PC. Forgetting that feeling IS the worst thing I could do. And doing my best to accommodate ALL visitors is the least I could do.
Now to be fair, when I was using a â€œswitchâ€ I was at a point in my recovery where exposure to a computer was very limited. And by the time I was able to â€œexperimentâ€ with how to make intelligent use of one, I had regained enough mobility in my right arm and hand to type and use â€œmouse keys.â€
My point is, never really having a fair shot at getting used to said solution, Iâ€™m next to the furthest reliable source concerning this matter. And my use of â€œswitch accessâ€ was a good many years ago (essentially the first 2 or 3 months of 1997). And am certain technology of this sort and whatever else may now be used to achieve similar results has been improved uponâ€¦
Which Brings Us Hereâ€¦
Cynthia Says UnboundedExistence.com passes both WAI and Section 508 â€œWeb Content Accessibilityâ€ validation tests. Which essentially means something. But not everything. No all-in-one online â€œtestâ€ can insure any site is universally â€œaccessible.â€ Unfortunately I havenâ€™t access to the sort of gear I envision one needing to guarantee such a claim (Ironic, no?)â€¦
In addition to my pledge of standards compliance Iâ€™ve, hopefully improved â€œaccessibilityâ€ by adding further functionality into this site. Below Iâ€™ve tried to detail said effortsâ€¦
This will basically mean little to nothing to most users. But for those who have vision-issues or have chosen to alter (increase) the default â€œtext-sizeâ€ in their browsers, will see the effects to both the text (obviously) as well as the container the text sit in. The larger the number, the larger most everything will appear on screen.
â€œTitlesâ€ are essentially the â€œtooltipâ€ (text that â€œpops-upâ€ next to your cursor) that should appear once you â€œhoverâ€ over a link with your mouse. And as such, all links that I felt could use further description have said attribute.
Concepts such as â€œacronymsâ€ and â€œabbreviationsâ€ have â€œtitles.â€ Signified with a dotted underline, so when you hover over a term with said attribute the meaning will “magically” appear.
The most obvious navigational aids are the two links, located first thing on the top of every page. Providing two options, skip to either the â€œmain contentâ€ or the â€œsidebar content.â€ Often referred to as â€œnavigation-skippers,â€ and through their use visually-impaired, mobility-impaired or any user who may choose to use a keyboard to navigate areas of interest on any page, simply by using the â€œtabâ€ and â€œreturn/enterâ€ keys.
I’ve enabled a feature that will allow a user to navigate through “landmarks” on any given page within this site with just a keyboard. This feature is referred to as “tab index.” Simply use the “tab” key on your keyboard to run through a predetermined set of,Â what I think are the most important (common) “links” on every page. First up is my “search” feature, then my layout switch, then the “skip navigation” links, then the main navigation menu, then my “Accessibility Statement,” then followed by my jump to the “TOP” of this page link. Last but not least are the rest of the links that haven’t been visited quite yet starting from the top of the page down.
Wrapping Things Up…
Iâ€™ve done my best, knowing what I know to make UnboundedExistence.com accessible to everybody. I wonâ€™t go as far in saying my efforts are perfect. Theyâ€™re not. I know. So if you find something that needs improvement to make the site even more usable, let me know. Thanksâ€¦