ACCESSIBLE EQUATIONS: Use MathML Rather Than Images

Mathematics background with formulas

In order to create semantically accurate math equations that are accessible to all, use MathML, the markup language that provides semantic understanding and proper syntax to assistive technologies like screen readers.

Why Not Use an Image With Alt Text?

According to info included in Princeton University’s MathML for Accessible Math Markup Tutorial, there is a good reason not to use images to display math equations:

“Whereas an alternative text description on an image of a math equation is better than nothing, it still a violation of Success Criterion 1.4.5 Images of Text. Presenting an equation as an image denies the ability of the non-sighted user to derive the understanding through semantics in an equivalent fashion to a sighted user.”

MathML Tutorials

W3C MathML Guide
Mozilla Guide to MathML
Princeton University’s MathML for Accessible Math Markup Tutorial
Daniel Scully’s Beginner’s Guide to MathML
The Connexions Guide to MathML.

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WEBSITE ACCESSIBILITY TESTING & REMEDIATION SERVICES: Mary Gillen is an experienced Website Accessibility Compliance Auditor and Remediator. She can test your website to determine if it meets accessibility standards:

WCAG 2.1: 312 checkpoints covering A, AA and AAA W3 accessibility guidelines
Section 508: 15 US federal guidelines covered by 59 accessibility checkpoints

Find out more about Mary Gillen’s Accessibility Testing & Remediation Services: Websites, PDFs, Office Docs & Videos

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ACCESSIBLE WEBSITE DESIGN TIP: Always Include a Skip Navigation Link

FAIL: The inability to skip repetitive links (such as a navigation menu) can be a problem for those with mobility disabilities who use the keyboard to navigate instead of a mouse.

SOLUTION: Add a simple hyperlink at the very beginning of your HTML page that allows keyboard users to skip to the main section of page content:

Accessible Web Design Tip: Add a Skip to Main Content Link

<a class=”skiptomain” href=”#main-content”>To Skip to Main Content – Press Enter</a>

To prevent sighted users from seeing the Skip to Main Content – Press Enter link at the top of the page, add these declarations to your CSS file:

.skiptomain {
position: absolute;
top: -1000px;
left: -1000px;
height: 1px;
width: 1px;
text-align: left;
overflow: hidden;
}
a.skiptomain:active,
a.skiptomain:focus,
a.skiptomain:hover {
left: 0;
top: 0;
width: auto;
height: auto;
overflow: visible;
}

This will position the Skip to main content link 1000px off the screen for sighted users, without hiding it from screen readers. When keyboard users hit the tab key the first time, the link will receive focus and be visible at the top left corner of the page.

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WEBSITE ACCESSIBILITY TESTING & REMEDIATION SERVICES: Mary Gillen is an experienced Website Accessibility Compliance Auditor and Remediator. She can test your website to determine if it meets accessibility standards:

WCAG 2.1: 118 checkpoints covering A, AA and AAA W3 accessibility guidelines
Section 508: 15 US federal guidelines covered by 55 accessibility checkpoints

Find out more about Mary Gillen’s Accessibility Testing & Remediation Services: Websites, PDFs, Office Docs & Videos

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META TAGS: How Not to Use Them When Coding for Compliance

Hello I Am Waiting words on a nametag sticker to illustrate being patient, late, tardy or delayed for a trip, appointment, meeting or event

FAIL: Do not use the META tag to automatically refresh a page as this can be disorientating for users.

PASS: If the time interval is too short, people who are blind will not have enough time to make their screen readers read the page before the page refreshes unexpectedly and causes the screen reader to begin reading at the top.

Section 508 (2000) 1194.22 (p)
WCAG 2.0 F58 (Success Criteria: 2.2.1 level A)
Section 508 (2017) F58 (Success Criteria: 2.2.1 level A)

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FAIL: Do not use META REFRESH with a non-zero timeout to automatically refresh the page, since it causes an unexpected interruption for screen reader users.

PASS: If you cannot avoid using META REFRESH, change the refresh time to zero, since the redirect is instant and will not be perceived as a change of context.

Section 508 (2000) 1194.22 (p)
WCAG 1.0 7.5
WCAG 2.0 F40 (Success Criteria: 2.2.1 level A, 2.2.4 level AAA, 3.2.5 level AAA)
Section 508 (2017) F40 (Success Criteria: 2.2.1 level A, 2.2.4 level AAA, 3.2.5 level AAA)

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FAIL: Do not use the Refresh HTTP header to automatically refresh a page as this can be disorientating for users.

People who are blind will not have enough time to make their screen readers read the page before the page refreshes unexpectedly and causes the screen reader to begin reading at the top.

Section 508 (2000) 1194.22 (p)
WCAG 2.0 F58 (Success Criteria: 2.2.1 level A)
Section 508 (2017) F58 (Success Criteria: 2.2.1 level A)

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WEBSITE ACCESSIBILITY TESTING & REMEDIATION SERVICES: Mary Gillen is an experienced Website Accessibility Compliance Auditor and Remediator. She can test your website to determine if it meets accessibility standards:

WCAG 2.1: 118 checkpoints covering A, AA and AAA W3 accessibility guidelines
Section 508: 15 US federal guidelines covered by 55 accessibility checkpoints

Find out more about Mary Gillen’s Accessibility Testing & Remediation Services: Websites, PDFs, Office Docs & Videos

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32 Ways to Test PowerPoint Presentations for Compliance

Powerpoint Presentation Background

Making content accessible to people with disabilities online begins with making all types of files compliant from the start. Do you have links to PowerPoint presentations on your website? If so, be sure these documents are compliant.

Here are 32 items to test:

1. Does the document file name not contain spaces and/or special characters?

2. Is the document file name concise, generally limited to 20–30 characters, and does it make the contents of the file clear?

3. Have the Document Properties for Title, Author, Subject (AKA Description), Keywords, Language, and Copyright Status been applied?

4. Does the document utilize recommended fonts (i.e., Times New Roman, Verdana, Arial, Tahoma, Helvetica, or Calibri)?

5. Have track changes been accepted or rejected and turned off?

6. Have comments been removed and formatting marks been turned off?

7. Does the document refrain from using flashing/flickering text and/or animated text?

8. Is the document free of background images or watermarks?

9. Do all images, grouped images, and non-text elements that convey information have meaningful alternative-text descriptions?

10. Do complex images (i.e., charts and graphs) have descriptive text near the image (perhaps as a caption)?

11. Do all URLs contain descriptive hyperlinks (i.e., avoid generic phrases like “Click here” and, instead, use phrases that let users know about the content of the linked page prior to selecting it

12. Are all URLs linked to correct Web destinations?

13. Are e-mail links accessible?

14. Has a separate accessible version of the document been provided when there is no other way to make the content accessible?

15. If there are tables, are blank cells avoided?

16. Is all of the text easy to read in comparison to the background of the document (i.e., has a color-contrast ratio of 4.5:1)?

17. Can all slide text be viewed in the Outline View?

18. Do all of the slides avoid using flickering/flashing text and/or animated text?

19. Do all of the slides avoid using text boxes or graphics with text within them?

20. Is the list style being used as opposed to manually typed characters (e.g. Hyphens, numbers, or graphics)?

21. If multimedia is present, did the multimedia pass the Multimedia Checklist?

22. Is the presentation free of SmartArt?

23. Are multiple associated images on the same page (e.g., boxes in an organizational chart) grouped as one object?

24. Have all multilayered objects been flattened into one image and does that image use one alternative text description for the image?

25. Do images/graphics appear crisp and legible?

26. If the document (or a section of the document) has a tabular appearance, is the tabular structure made using the table option (as opposed to manual tabs and/or spaces)?

27. Do all tables have a logical reading order from left to right, top to bottom?

28. Do data tables have the entire first row designated as a ‘Header Row’ in table properties?

29. Is the table free of merged cells?

30. Are all tables described and labeled (where appropriate)? Note: In some cases naming/numbering of tables may not be appropriate. For example, a small data table in a presentation may not need a reference.

31. In table properties, is “Allow row to break across pages” unchecked?

32. Has the document been reviewed in Print Preview for a final visual check?

[SOURCE]

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WEBSITE ACCESSIBILITY TESTING & REMEDIATION SERVICES: Mary Gillen is an experienced Website Accessibility Compliance Auditor and Remediator. She can test your website to determine if it meets accessibility standards:

WCAG 2.1: 118 checkpoints covering A, AA and AAA W3 accessibility guidelines
Section 508: 15 US federal guidelines covered by 55 accessibility checkpoints

Find out more about Mary Gillen’s Accessibility Testing & Remediation Services: Websites, PDFs, Office Docs & Videos

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8 Ways to Make Excel Worksheets Compliant

Microsift Excel Logo

Making content accessible to people with disabilities online begins with making all types of files compliant from the start. Do you have links to Excel worksheets or spreadsheets on your website? If so, be sure your these documents are compliant.

To get you started, here are eight items to test:

FAIL: Excel worksheet images, charts and graphics are published without ALT text. PASS: To add alternative text (Alt text) to an image, chart or graphic: Right Click (Shift+F10) on the image, click Format, choose Alt Text. Type a descriptive name that describes the content of the image, chart or graphic.

FAIL: Excel file name contains spaces.
PASS: Use dashes (-) to separate words in your Excel file name. Keep the total number of characters in the file name between 20-30.

FAIL: Excel file info is not complete.
PASS: Fill in the Document Properties for Title, Author, Subject (AKA Description), Keywords, Language, and Copyright Status.

FAIL: Document contains background images and watermarks.
PASS: Be sure the document is free of background images or watermarks.

FAIL: Tables contain blank spaces.
PASS: If there are tables, avoid using blank cells.

FAIL: If there are merged or split cells contained in a data table, these will not be correctly interpreted by assistive technology.
PASS: Do not use merged or split cells.

FAIL: Track changes have not been accepted or rejected and turned off.
PASS: Turn track changes off before publishing your Excel document to the Web.

FAIL: Sheet tabs do not have unique names.
PASS: Sheet names in an Excel file should be unique and provide information about what can be found on the worksheet.
To rename a sheet: Right-click (Shift+F10) the sheet tab, and then click Rename. Type a brief, unique name that is descriptive of the sheet contents.

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WEBSITE ACCESSIBILITY TESTING & REMEDIATION SERVICES: Mary Gillen is an experienced Website Accessibility Compliance Auditor and Remediator. She can test your website to determine if it meets accessibility standards:

WCAG 2.1: 118 checkpoints covering A, AA and AAA W3 accessibility guidelines
Section 508: 15 US federal guidelines covered by 55 accessibility checkpoints

Find out more about Mary Gillen’s Accessibility Testing & Remediation Services: Websites, PDFs, Office Docs & Videos

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MathML: Tutorials for Accessible Math Markup

Mathematics background with formulas

In order to create semantically accurate math equations that are accessible to all, check out MathML, the markup language that provides semantic understanding and proper syntax to assistive technologies like screen readers.

Why Not Use an Image With Alt Text?

According to info included in Princeton University’s MathML for Accessible Math Markup Tutorial, there is a good reason not to use images to display math equations:

“Whereas an alternative text description on an image of a math equation is better than nothing, it still a violation of Success Criterion 1.4.5 Images of Text. Presenting an equation as an image denies the ability of the non-sighted user to derive the understanding through semantics in an equivalent fashion to a sighted user.”

MathML Tutorials

W3C MathML Guide
Mozilla Guide to MathML
Princeton University’s MathML for Accessible Math Markup Tutorial
Daniel Scully’s Beginner’s Guide to MathML
The Connexions Guide to MathML.

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WEBSITE ACCESSIBILITY TESTING & REMEDIATION SERVICES: Mary Gillen is an experienced Website Accessibility Compliance Auditor and Remediator. She can test your website to determine if it meets accessibility standards:

WCAG 2.1: 118 checkpoints covering A, AA and AAA W3 accessibility guidelines
Section 508: 15 US federal guidelines covered by 55 accessibility checkpoints

Find out more about Mary Gillen’s Accessibility Testing & Remediation Services: Websites, PDFs, Office Docs & Videos

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Accessibility Problem with Popup Windows

scary Jack-in-the-box toy isolated on a white backgroundDo you have a survey popup on your home page that automatically opens?

WCAG 2.0 bans all popup windows without explicit alert beforehand (WCAG 2.0 through Level AAA – 3.2.1 On Focus). New windows take the focus away from what the user is reading or doing. This is fine when the user has interacted with a piece of user interface and expects to get a new window, such as an options dialogue. The failure comes when pop-ups appear unexpectedly.

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WEBSITE ACCESSIBILITY TESTING & REMEDIATION SERVICES: Mary Gillen is an experienced Website Accessibility Compliance Auditor and Remediator. She can test your website to determine if it meets accessibility standards:

WCAG 2.1: 118 checkpoints covering A, AA and AAA W3 accessibility guidelines
Section 508: 15 US federal guidelines covered by 55 accessibility checkpoints

Find out more about Mary Gillen’s Accessibility Testing & Remediation Services: Websites, PDFs, Office Docs & Videos

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7 Ways to Make Word Documents Compliant

icon of Word documentMaking content accessible to people with disabilities online begins with making all types of files compliant from the start. Do you have links to Word documents on your website? If so, be sure your Word documents are compliant.

To get you started, here are seven items to test:

FAIL: Word document contains a graphic without ALT text.
PASS: Use the ‘Format Picture’ command in Word to add ALT text

FAIL: Document file name contains spaces.
PASS: Use dashes (-) to separate words in your Word file name. Keep the total number of characters in the file name between 20-30.

FAIL: Word file info is not complete.
PASS: Fill in the Document Properties for Title, Author, Subject (AKA Description), Keywords, Language, and Copyright Status.

FAIL: Document contains background images and watermarks.
PASS: Be sure the document is free of background images or watermarks.

FAIL: Color is used as a way to instruct. Colorblind visitors may not able to follow the instructions when reading your Word document.
PASS: Use an instruction description that does not depend on color.

FAIL: Table data created using manual tabs and/or spaces.
PASS: Use the Insert Table option to create tables.

FAIL: Track changes have not been accepted or rejected and turned off.
PASS: Turn track changes off before publishing your Word document to the Web.

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WEBSITE ACCESSIBILITY TESTING & REMEDIATION SERVICES: Mary Gillen is an experienced Website Accessibility Compliance Auditor and Remediator. She can test your website to determine if it meets accessibility standards:

WCAG 2.1: 118 checkpoints covering A, AA and AAA W3 accessibility guidelines
Section 508: 15 US federal guidelines covered by 55 accessibility checkpoints

Find out more about Mary Gillen’s Accessibility Testing & Remediation Services: Websites, PDFs, Office Docs & Videos

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Web Design to Accommodate the Dyslexic Reader

''Dyslexia'' word with wooden letters on dark background

Dyslexia is a general term for disorders that involve difficulty in learning to read or interpret words, letters, and other symbols, but that do not affect general intelligence. It is the most common cause of reading, writing, and spelling difficulties.

Of people with reading difficulties, 70-80% are likely to have some form of dyslexia. It is estimated that between 5-10% of the population has dyslexia, but this number can also be as high as 17%.

Here are some CSS tips to consider when designing web content to accommodate the dyslexic reader.

Beware Italics
Italicized characters can be difficult for dyslexics to read.

Column Widths
Use narrow column widths (60 to 80 characters). Tracking lines of unbroken text across a page can be difficult.

No Justification
Never use justified text. It causes “rivers” that make text difficult for dyslexics to read.

River Effect in Justified Text

Use Sans-serif Fonts
Serif fonts (like Times Roman) have “feet” at the end of the letter strokes. This can be a nightmare for dyslexics to read because the letters look like they are all connected. Use sans-serif fonts.

See the difference between Serif vs Sans-serif typefaces

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Resource:  OpenDyslexic

OpenDyslexic is a new open source font created to increase readability for readers with dyslexia. The typeface includes regular, bold, italic, and bold-italic styles. It is being updated continually and improved based on input from dyslexic users. OpenDyslexic is free for Commercial and Personal use.
Download: http://opendyslexic.org/

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Read More Accessible Website Design Advice: Accessible Best Practice: Don’t Use Color As Part of Your Instructional Content

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WEBSITE ACCESSIBILITY TESTING & REMEDIATION SERVICES: Mary Gillen is an experienced Website Accessibility Compliance Auditor and Remediator. She can test your website to determine if it meets accessibility standards:

WCAG 2.1: 312 checkpoints covering A, AA and AAA W3 accessibility guidelines
Section 508: 15 US federal guidelines covered by 59 accessibility checkpoints

Find out more about Mary Gillen’s Accessibility Testing & Remediation Services: Websites, PDFs, Office Docs & Videos

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How to Create Accessible CAPTCHAS

It’s common for web developers to use CAPTCHA (Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart) functionality for anti-spam verification to make sure HTML form responses are being generated by humans and not computer “bots”.

Example of a visual CAPTCHA

The most commonly used CAPTCHA presents a visual of distorted text for the website visitor to interpret. Another alternative is the audio CAPTCHA, offering human verification to the blind and other visually impaired people. Unfortunately, both types of CAPTCHAS offer accessibility issues:

  1. People with visual disabilities use screen readers that cannot read a CAPTCHA.
  2. You cannot add ALT text to a CAPTCHA image, because then a bot would be able to read it, defeating the purpose of using it.
  3. Audio CAPTCHAs present difficulties for people with hearing disabilities.

SOLUTION: Use Text-based Logic Questions or Math Equations CAPTCHAs

Use a question rather than an image or audio to create CAPTCHA functionality.

A sample CAPTCHA question might be “Which animal is larger—an ant or a elephant?”or “What state is Boston located in?”

Another way to challenge: use math questions (e.g. “What is one plus three?”).

Example of a math question challenge question that can replace a CAPTCHA

PHP Script Solution: All CAPS vs lowercase

For those of you who use PHP, here’s a simple coding trick that enables you to create an accessible CAPTCHA on an HTML form. I have used this for years on client websites, and it works great.

At the bottom of your form, create a text field named Validate. Above the field, add a validation text code of capital letters and numbers (in this case GHW53405) that the user will need to enter in order to submit the form. Also let the user know that the validation code is case-sensitive.

Sample of validation text code form

Once the user enters the validation text code and submits the form, add the following condition at the top of the PHP processing page:

<?php
if (strtolower($_POST[‘Validate’]) != ‘ghw53405′) {
die(‘Sorry…you forgot to enter the special code in the form…hit your back key and try again. Please note that the special code is case-sensitive’);
} else {

rest of script

}

Note that in the PHP condition you need to change the values of the capital letters used in the validation text code to lowercase (see bold above). The PHP function strtolower converts all the text characters of the submitted Validate string to lowercase. If the validation text code has been entered correctly, the rest of the script will process with no problem. If the validation code has been entered incorrectly, the submission will fail and the user will be directed back to the form.

Check Out This Additional Resource: The TextCaptcha service provides access to textual CAPTCHA challenges via a simple JSON or XML API over HTTP. http://textcaptcha.com

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WEBSITE ACCESSIBILITY TESTING & REMEDIATION SERVICES: Mary Gillen is an experienced Website Accessibility Compliance Auditor and Remediator. She can test your website to determine if it meets accessibility standards:

WCAG 2.1: 118 checkpoints covering A, AA and AAA W3 accessibility guidelines
Section 508: 15 US federal guidelines covered by 55 accessibility checkpoints

Find out more about Mary Gillen’s Accessibility Testing & Remediation Services: Websites, PDFs, Office Docs & Videos

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