Fix the Web

Harnessing the power of networks to make the web accessible for everyone.

Posts Tagged ‘social media accessibility’

the chicken and the creme egg

Posted by gailbradbrook on March 8, 2010

Wrapper from a creme egg showing the chicksSo I want to start a process to think about how social media can help Fix the Web (e-accessibility for disabled people). I’ve been chatting on email to various contacts but given this is a social media focussed project it made sense to think about communicating that way. Especially since at some point, there should be a website to promote through the networked world…

David Cushman (and his lovely family) came to visit this weekend, he is a Trustee of Citizens Online and an expert in Social Media. So we had a good natter and decided the best next step was to start a blog. I did used to have a website (anyone remember Geocities) but it was taken down even before they went under (it was about having a baby and my Demi Moore shots may have triggered alarms).

OK David I say, how do I make sure my blog is accessible to disabled people? We realise neither of us know and a cursory search doesn’t seem to help much. So I’m blogging about getting together an accessible social media website without knowing whether my site is or not. And if I don’t blog about it in real time I may lose some of the detail of the journey. I hope through blogging I’ll figure out having an accessible blog, but I don’t really know which should come first. I don’t know much about blogging or e-accessibility (I have other strengths to bring to this project!) and I think that lack of knowledge should have its benefits. I want to help create a solution that works for the average user…

The result of David’s tweeting to find out more:

“WordPress has more accessibility plugins than you can shake a stick at”

Should I need to stick in plugins? Shouldn’t this be built in? (I’m not 100% sure of what a plugin is btw)

“Wordpress is prob best. But the issue is more with the HTML and various widgets and applications than the blog platform itself”

So I might add in stuff that I think is cool and as a result be excluding people…ooohh…

AbilityNet (the national charity focused on adapting ICT for disability, health etc) says it has these accessibility features:

· a skip to content link to help screen reader and keyboard users access content quickly

· a search facility and sitemap

· alternative stylesheets (or viewing themes), including a linearised version with large text and a version designed to assist reading for visitors with dyslexia

· resizable text

· a flexible page layout (the centre column resizes with the width of your browser window)

I’m having a girlie time flicking through the themes you can have for your blog, but wondering which ones have any accessibility features built in- this doesn’t seem to be something you can filter for. I couldn’t find accessibility information from the general introductory stuff for WordPress, David got some info via a tweet:

“Here’s a link re wordpress and accessibility: http://codex.wordpress.org/Accessibility

This page starts with the inviting sentence: “Accessibility is for everyone, even WordPress users. But what is it?”

But it soon gets all techy on me:

“WordPress works right out of the box to help you keep your site accessible. Unfortunately, not all WordPress Theme authors take the time and patience to maintain those accessibility standards. Here is an example of using the title in a link in the index.php and the WordPress Loop:


permalink() ?>" rel="bookmark"

title="Permanent Link to php the_title(); ?>">

Let’s look at this. There is a link inside of the h2 tag for the title of the post. Inside of the link is a call to the permalink, the address of the post. It is followed by a rel which attaches a relationship to the link as a bookmark. This is followed by the title. In this case, it says “Permanent Link to” and then the title of the post, which is automatically generated by the the_title() template tag. The title tag is then used again as the name of the link.”

I’m on the second creme egg and feeling quite lost. I think more research is needed. I’m looking at this blog post and thinking christ the text is small, what if someone needs it bigger? This may be a chicken that gets rehatched soon….

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