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April 2008
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April Weblog

April 24, 2008

Change is not always for the better. American Express ran into accessibility issues when they changed from using HTML to PDF for their online credit card statements. It turns out that the data tables they previously used to present the statements were accessible, but the new PDF version was not. I suspect this will be corrected again shortly, in part because of the potential for a lawsuit. To avoid the same problems yourself, you can reference Adobe's Creating Accessible PDF files guide (in PDF format, of course!) or WebAIM's series of PDF accessibility articles.

April 21, 2008

A Computerworld article describes how the visually impaired use screen readers to use software and surf the Web. It even includes a brief Flash video of a screen reader reading a Web page; (ironically, it's not very accessible). One important highlight is a survey of 100 higher-education Web sites by WebAIM that found that compliance with Section 508 went from 23% on the home page to 3% on pages one link off the home page to less than 1% two links into the site. Ouch! I know it can be more of a challenge to keep in compliance pages that change often or are updated by different editors, but you should at least keep the high-traffic pages in compliance. That would likely include many pages that are one link from the home page and some that are farther away.

April 15, 2008

I have lots of catching up to do now that I'm getting settled in Portland, OR and have Internet access again. First, I must continue my trend on reporting about Web accessibility abroad. A recent article states that about 70% of Malaysian Web sites are inaccessible to the blind. This is out of approximately 100,000 sites. The causes are the usual suspects...a lack of ALT tags (descriptions for images), poorly named links, and the incorrect use of or lack of headings. Even sadder, it appears that an accessibility bill that recently passed in Malaysia is supposed to protect the disabled, but it has no punitive language. In other words, nothing will happen if people ignore it.

Additional updates will follow as I catch up with news, email, looking for work, and the rest of my life. Please drop me a line if you know any job opportunities based near Portland (or telecommute) for usability, accessibility, information architecture, business analyst work, or some combination thereof: <anitra at anitrapavka dot com>