ACCESSIBLE FILE NAMES: Please…No Spaces and/or Special Characters

Brick wall displaying dash pattern of bricks

Folks who use screen readers download documents so they can read them. The first piece of information they encounter is the file name. A unique, descriptive file name helps the user understand the information contained in the document.

Best Practice: To be accessible to screen readers, file names should not contain spaces and/or special characters.

File naming conventions are important for web pages and directories, as well as for downloadable files such as PDFs, Word documents, and Excel spreadsheets.

Here are some tips to remember when naming your files:

  • Don’t start or end your filename with a space, period, hyphen, or underline.
  • Keep your filenames to a reasonable length and be sure they are under 31 characters.
  • Always use lowercase.
  • Don’t use spaces and underscores; use a hyphen instead.

Don’t use the following special characters in your file names:

# pound
% percent
& ampersand
{ left curly bracket
} right curly bracket
\ back slash
< left angle bracket
> right angle bracket
* asterisk
? question mark
/ forward slash
blank spaces
$ dollar sign
! explanation point
‘ single quotes
” double quotes
: colon
@ at sign

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: 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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WEB ACCESSIBILITY: The Problem with Popups

Vintage Jack-in-the-box toy isolated on a white background

Do you have a survey popup window on your home page that automatically opens?

This disorients low vision users who cannot see the new window appearing.

WCAG 2.1 bans all popup windows without explicit alert beforehand (On Focus 3.2.1 A).

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: 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 PDFs: How to Prevent Security Settings from Interfering with Screen Readers

Five PDF icons in a row

When creating a PDF file using Adobe Acrobat DC Pro, a document author can specify that no part of an accessible PDF is to be copied, printed, extracted, commented on, or edited.

Problem is this security setting can interfere with a screen reader’s ability to read the document, because screen readers must be able to copy or extract the document’s text to convert it to speech.

How to fix accessibility permissions manually

1. Open the PDF in Adobe Acrobat DC Pro
2. Choose File > Properties > Security.
3. Choose No Security from the Security Method drop-down list.
4. Click OK and close the Document Properties dialog box.

Is your screen reader a Trusted Agent?

From Adobe: “If your assistive technology product is registered with Adobe as a Trusted Agent, you can read PDFs that might be inaccessible to another assistive technology product. Acrobat recognizes when a screen reader or other product is a Trusted Agent and overrides security settings that would typically limit access to the content for accessibility purposes. However, the security settings remain in effect for all other purposes, such as to prevent printing, copying, extracting, commenting, or editing text.”

[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: 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 IMAGES: How to Handle ALT Text Acronyms

How to code ALT text acroymns

IMG ALT text with acronyms can cause problems when read by screenreaders.

FAIL: <img src=”mit-it-logo.jpg” alt=”ITS at MIT” />
(read by a screen reader as “It’s at Mit”).

SOLUTION: Include spaces in between acronym letters in the IMG ALT attribute

PASS: <img src=”mit-it-logo.jpg” alt=”I T S at M I T” />
(read by a screen reader as “ITS at EM EYE TEE”).

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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 CONTENT: Don’t Use Color As Part of Your Instructional Content

Color Blindness - Illustration of Glasses

Are you using color as a way of instructing visitors about the next action to take on your Web site?

Think again.

Let’s say you have images of two buttons on your Web page.

Image of a red button and a green button

If you instruct folks to click on the red button, you may be confusing the over 108 million Web users who are color blind.

WCAG 2.0 Guideline 1.4.1 warns Web designers, developers and content creators about depending solely on color when conveying instructions.

There are a number of color blindness conditions. Here are three you should learn about:

Protanopia: People with protanopia lack the long-wavelength sensitive retinal cones that are required to distinguish between colors in the green-yellow-red section of the spectrum. It is a more common form of color blindness, occurring in between 1% and 5% of males (varying by race) and in approximately 0.1% of females.

Here’s how individuals with protanopia see the red & green buttons:

Image of how a person with protanopia views red and green colors

Deuteranopia: People with deuteranopia lack medium-wavelength retinal cones and are therefore also unable to distinguish between colors in the green-yellow-red section of the spectrum. Deuteranopia is a more common form of color blindness, occurring in between 1% and 5% of males (varying by race) and in approximately 0.1% of females.

Here’s how people with deuteranopia see the red & green buttons:

Image of how people with deuteranopia view red and green buttons

Tritanopia: People with color blindness involving the inactivation of the short-wavelength sensitive cone system have tritanopia, a very rare blue-yellow color blindness. Tritanopia is a very rare form of color blindness, occurring in less than 0.003% of males and females.

Here’s how people with tritanopia see the red & green buttons:

Image that depicts how a person with tritanopia views red and green buttons on a Web page

Accessible Best Practice: Don’t use color as part of your instructional content. It will confuse and frustrate your site’s color blind visitors and is considered inaccessible according to WCAG 2.0 Guidelines.

WCAG 2.0 Guidelines covered in this post:

Level A Guideline 1.4.1 Use of Color: Color is not used as the only visual means of conveying information, indicating an action, prompting a response, or distinguishing a visual element.

Level AAA Guideline 3.3.5 Help: Provide detailed help and instructions.

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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 DEV: Free Zip Code Distance, Radius and Location API

Hand drawn U.S. Map

Need to pull dynamic U.S. zip code data for your website? Check out ZipCodeAPI.com, the easy way to calculate distances, radius, and locations for U.S. zip codes.

ZipCodeAPI.com allows you to:

– Convert zip code to city/town or city/town to zip code
– Pull zip codes from a nearby radius
– Create a custom SQL search
– Pull related zip codes from a surrounding area
– Find the distance between two zip codes
– Organize a list of zips ordered closest to each other

Free Plan

With the free plan (registration required), you are allowed 1,200 API requests per day, which should offer enough functionality for a simple application. Note that the free account allows up to 10 API requests per hour. You also receive a free trial period of 50 API requests per hour for 2 weeks. Paid plans are also available for more robust applications.

Find out more about ZipCodeAPI.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: 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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ACCESSIBILITY TOOLS: Convert PDF Files to MP3 Audio with RoboBraille.org

Hispanic blind man with disability. Visually impaired man using Digital Assistant and Ease of Access functions on mobile phone, voice typing to smartphone

RoboBraille is an e-mail and web-based service capable of automatically transforming documents into a variety of alternate formats for the visually and reading impaired.

RoboBraille.org Logo

Originally created by Synscenter Refsnæs (the National Centre for Visually Impaired Children and Youth in Denmark) and Sensus ApS, RoboBraille is accessible 24/7 as a self-service solution and is available free of charge for individual, non-commercial use. Users don’t need not register in order to use the service.

Step 1: Select your file and upload it to the server (max 64 MB). Multiple files of the same type may be selected. Supported file types are .DOC, .DOCX, .PDF, .PPT, .PPTX, .TXT, .XML, .HTML, .HTM, .RTF, .EPUB, .MOBI, .TIFF, .TIF, .GIF, .JPG, .JPEG, .BMP, .PNG, .PCX, .DCX, .J2K, .JP2, .JPX, .DJV and .ASC

Step 2: Specify the target format of your document. The following formats are available: MP3 audio, Braille, E-book or Accessibility conversion.

List of RoboBraille Output Formats

Step 3: If you specify Accessibility conversion, here are your options: Microsoft Word (.doc, .docx), RTF, Tagged PDF (text over image, image over text), Microsoft Excel (xls, xlsx), Windows Text (.txt) or HTML (.htm).

Robobraille Accessibility Options

Step 4: Add your email address then submit your file conversion request.

A Test

I uploaded an 11-page PDF file and requested a conversion to MP3. Within five minutes I received an email that contained a link to the MP3 file. I also received confirmation that the original PDF file I uploaded was deleted from the RoboBraille.org server.

Visit RoboBraille.org now and test the file conversion functionality.

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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 FORMS: Get a Head Start with Boilerform

Cartoon Illustration of HTML Forms

Boilerform is a little HTML and CSS boilerplate to give you a head start when creating accessible HTML forms.

By providing baseline BEM structured CSS and appropriate attributes on elements, Boilerform takes some of the pain away when building forms in the best possible way with a view to being dropped into most projects.

Take Boilerform for a test drive here.

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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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ACCESSIBILITY TESTING TOOLS: Microsoft Accessibility Insights

Microsoft Logo on Web page

Microsoft’s two Accessibility Insights applications are now available as open source code.

The two free tools, Accessibility Insights for Windows and Accessibility Insights for Web, help developers find and fix common accessibility issues early in the software development cycle. They can be used as stand-alone tools or can be integrated through their rules engines into a developer’s build process.

The applications are built on open-source axe technology from Deque Systems, which works with companies to make their websites and mobile apps accessible to people with disabilities. The Accessibility Insights applications are part of Microsoft’s larger inclusion efforts that also involve inclusive hiring and the Department of Homeland Security’s Trusted Tester program.

Read the rest of eWeek’s article Microsoft Now Offers Accessibility Insights as Open Source Code

Download Accessibility Insights for Windows and Accessibility Insights for Web now.

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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 VOICE: Conversational Search for All

Mobile Voice Search Illustration

We all know folks with physical, cognitive and learning disabilities who need to use voice recognition technology rather than type on a keyboard or use a mouse. Yet many more of us are conducting conversational searches via voice-activated services on our mobile phones and other devices.

Report: There are now over 50 billion voice searches every month. This number is expected to grow to over 200 billion by 2020 and account for over 50% of all searches. [SOURCE]

So how is this changing the keyword phrases we use when we use voice search?

In the article How conversational searches change your search strategy, author Sara Kleinberg reports that people are “searching with natural language in a manner reminiscent of asking for advice.”

Here are some examples:

Mobile searches for “do I need” have grown over 65%. For example, “how much do I need to retire,” “what size generator do I need,” and “how much paint do I need.”

Mobile searches for “should I” have grown over 65%. For example, “what laptop should I buy,” “should I buy a house,” “what SPF should I use,” and “what should I have for dinner.”

Mobile searches starting with “can I” have grown over 85%. For example, “can I use paypal on amazon,” “can I buy stamps at walmart,” and “can I buy a seat for my dog on an airplane.”

Sara offers this advice to website owners and marketers:

“Because consumers are growing more and more at ease with technology, consider using more natural language and creating intuitive experiences across all of your digital touch points. In search, after locking down the key words and phrases typically associated with your business, think beyond those to consider more conversational phrases that customers might be using to find you.”

Read the rest of How conversational searches change your search strategy

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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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