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HTML Editors: Four Key Capabilities to Address Web Accessibility Issues

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Certain capabilities within HTML editors can go a long way in tackling web accessibility issues. Specifically, your editor should have four essential capabilities, including accessibility checking as …

Certain capabilities within HTML editors can go a long way in tackling web accessibility issues. Specifically, your editor should have four essential capabilities, including accessibility checking as you type, creating accessible tables, inspecting content and providing accessibility reports and providing compatibility with assistive technologies. Learn more about our HTML editor capabilities by visiting http://ephox.com/.

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  • 1. HTML EDITORS:FOUR KEY CAPABILITIESTO ADDRESS WEBACCESSIBILITY ISSUES
  • 2. HTML EDITORS AND WEB ACCESSIBILITYCertain capabilities within HTML editors can go a long way in tackling webaccessibility issues.Specifically, your editor should have four essential capabilities:Accessibility checking as you typeWizard to create accessible tablesInspecting content and providing accessibility reportsProviding compatibility with assistive technologiesBut before delving into these capabilities in greater detail, we’ll first providesome background information on web accessibility and standards.
  • 3. HTML EDITORS AND WEB ACCESSIBILITYAccessibility – The Force Behind Most Web Standards•When you comply with web accessibility standards, first and foremost, your webpages can be accessed by persons with disabilities, while also gaining greater visibilityin searches.•The search engine is able to access and index your documents more easily andaccurately.•The same goes for robots that collect information from your website on behalf ofsearch engines.•Compliance to standards offers additional benefits as well.•For example, your web pages can be converted to other formats, including databasesand Word documents.•Standards help create versatility.
  • 4. HTML EDITORS AND WEB ACCESSIBILITYAccessibility – The Force Behind Most Web Standards •Web documents can be accessed through other software and hardware platforms.•Fortunately, a good HTML editor can provide the necessary capabilities to help you comply with the web’s accessibility standards.  •With  these  capabilities  already  built-in  to  the  application,  you  won’t  have  to  worry about meeting compliance standards – the editor will do the heavy lifting for you.
  • 5. HTML EDITORS AND WEB ACCESSIBILITYCapability #1: Accessibility Checking As You Type •You and your authors want to know if your content is compliant before it’s published.  •Therefore, an important capability to have is “accessibility checking as you type.”•This  feature  lets  you  immediately  spot  things  like  images  missing  alternative  text, inaccessible tables and other accessibility issues.•The  “accessibility  checking  as  you  type”  function  works  as  simply  as  a  word processing spell checker.  It’s a must-have feature for HTML editing.
  • 6. HTML EDITORS AND WEB ACCESSIBILITYCapability #2: Creating Accessible Tables •It’s not easy to create accessible tables.  So, make sure you get all the help you can get from your HTML editor.  •The “accessibility checking as you type” feature mentioned above will identify any issues.  But you should have additional capabilities available as well.•Your editor should provide other capabilities to create accessible tables such as a “convert to percentage widths” feature.  •With one click, your HTML editor should be able to create a relative-sized table.•Also, a “table accessibility inspector” and “table accessibility wizard” can help users apply the right header and data cell relationships by pointing and clicking, not coding HTML.
  • 7. HTML EDITORS AND WEB ACCESSIBILITYCapability #3: Inspecting Content and Providing Accessibility Reports •Your  HTML  editor  needs  to  thoroughly  inspect  your  content  against  the  two established sets of industry guidelines:  −the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)−Section 508 of the U.S. Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1998 (Section 508)Then, it must deliver accessibility reports highlighting any errors. •Developed  by  the  World  Wide  Web  Consortium  (W3C),  the  WCAG  formal guidelines  identify  how  to  create  accessible  web  content.  WCAG  2.0  includes  12 guidelines and 65 checkpoints.  •The checkpoints are prioritized from one to three in terms of access barriers.  •A priority one checkpoint indicates barriers make access impossible for one or more user groups; priority two denotes access is difficult and priority three signifies access is somewhat difficult. 
  • 8. HTML EDITORS AND WEB ACCESSIBILITYCapability #3: Inspecting Content and Providing Accessibility Reports •For each guideline, testable success criteria are provided.  •In order to meet the needs of different groups and different situations, three levels of conformance to WCAG 2.0 guidelines are defined: A (lowest), AA, and AAA (highest). •An outcome of legislation, the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board,  also  called  the  Access  Board,  published  the  Electronic  and  Information Technology Accessibility Standards (Section 508) in December 2000.  •The  section  on  “web-based  intranet  and  internet  information  and  applications" provides sixteen standards which define the minimum level of accessibility for federal government websites.  •These  standards  strongly  resemble  the  WCAG  checkpoints,  and  continue  to  be reviewed for need for enhancement. 
  • 9. HTML EDITORS AND WEB ACCESSIBILITYCapability #4: Providing Compatibility with Assistive Technologies •You  also  want  your  HTML  editor’s  interface  to  be  accessibility  compliant  with assistive technologies.  •What does this mean?  •Not only do people with disabilities need to be able to access the web, but your web pages as well.  •Everyone  accessing  your  site  must  understand  it,  even  if  they  use  a  non-typical browser.•For example, a person with a vision disability would be using a voice browser that reads  web  pages  out  loud,  like  the  JAWS  from  Freedom  Scientific,  or  a  Braille browser that translates text to Braille.  •Other unusual devices might include hand-held browsers and teletext displays.  
  • 10. HTML EDITORS AND WEB ACCESSIBILITY• Making sure your content management tools address web accessibilitystandards will help ensure traditional browsers, as well as non-traditionalbrowsers and devices, can access your web pages.• If you don’t follow standards, you’ll limit access to your target audienceand adversely affect your business.
  • 11. ABOUT THE AUTHORTom Smith is VP Worldwide Sales and Marketingfor Ephox Corporation, a fast-growing softwarecompany focused on delivering contentperformance solutions for developers, marketers,authors and web production teams.Learn more about our HTML editor capabilities byvisiting http://ephox.com/.