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Thoughts, news, insights and sometimes just random musings.

WCAG 2.0 and Web Accessibility in Plain English

You wake up in the morning, and perhaps you grab your phone from your nightstand (because heaven forbid a phone be too far away from us!), and you comb through your emails. You see one from your friend that has a link to a website of cats playing pianos. You click on it, but you can't experience anything because you're experiencing blindness, or pe...
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WCAG: Conformance Levels

If you've been following our blog series on accessibility, you've likely seen mention of WCAG's different levels of conformance. In short, they are Levels A, AA, and AAA, each of which successively describing a higher standard of accessibility. Each WCAG criterion we're discussing in this blog series has a conformance level designation. Often, thes...
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WCAG: 1.1.1 Non-text Content

This is the first in a series of blog posts (61 in total!) that will cover the different elements of WCAG compliance. There are tons of official recommendations per the compliance guide here, but for the sake of brevity and efficiency, we'll be focusing on the most common scenarios and easiest ways to make your sites more accessible with the wealth...
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WCAG: 1.2.1 Audio-only and Video-only (Prerecorded)

The Fancy Name: WCAG 1.2.1 Audio-only and Video-only (Prerecorded)   This is ensuring that your visitors can understand the gist of video/ audio content in similar ways to those viewing/ hearing the media. I'm a huge fan of applicable learning, so let's take this video of cats flying to Star Wars themes (because what other example would I poss...
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WCAG: 1.2.2 Captions (Prerecorded)

Enter heading here... The Fancy Name: 1.2.2 Captions (Prerecorded) - Level A: Captions are provided for all pre-recorded audio content in synchronized media, except when the media is a media alternative for text and is clearly labeled as such. This one is pretty easy to understand, so we'll spend more time understanding actionable things you can do...
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WCAG: 1.2.3 Audio Description or Media Alternative (Prerecorded)

What does adding audio descriptions to video mean? So there are captions, which I describe in a previous blog article . However ,   an audio description is more of a narrative of what's happening in the video itself. It needs to contain descriptions such as audible pauses, and laughter, as well as elements that make the video informative and/ ...
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WCAG: 1.2.4 Captions (Live)

What does adding live captions mean? More than 5% of the world's people are deaf and/or hard of hearing. Also, around 30 million people in the good ole U.S. of A. have some degree of hearing loss. As our population gets older, this statistic is extremely likely to grow. So there are captions, which I describe in a previous blog article. However, li...
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WCAG: 1.2.5 Audio Description (Prerecorded)

What does adding an audio description mean? Adding audio descriptions is pretty much what it sounds like. It's simply using spoken audio to describe what's happening in your video content. For example, things to be included in the descriptions would be: Describing/ introducing who's speaking Explaining overall setting, and visual elements that are ...
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WCAG: 1.2.6 Sign Language (Prerecorded)

What does this compliance item mean? Captions are helpful for those with auditory impairments, and audio (spoken) descriptions are very helpful as video descriptors. However, sign language adds much more depth to the media; it has expression, personality, and dynamics that simply aren't possible with captions or audio descriptions. This level of co...
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WCAG: 1.2.7 Extended Audio Description (Prerecorded)

Consider these scenarios: Imagine that you're a person experiencing visual impairment. You're a student at a prestigious law school, and you're watching a recording of last week's lecture that was posted online. You have a test next week, and while watching the video you can hear the professor, but you're unable to see what she's writing on the boa...
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WCAG: 1.2.8 Media Alternative (Prerecorded)

​What a Media Alternative Means A lot of this Level AAA mandate is a bit redundant if you provided a text description. This mandate is much more in-depth and requires that all audible and visual cues be described in sync with the media. Since a lot of this is already covered, we'll go into a bit more technical detail on how to embed something like ...
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WCAG: 1.2.9 Audio-only (Live)

As part of our mini-project to cover different aspects of WCAG 2.0 in a way that people can understand, this item helps people partake in events that are audio-only (no video). ​We've already covered adding captions to live video broadcasts here . This mandate is extremely similar, except sans video. To keep this short and sweet, the best way to do...
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WCAG 1.3.1 Info and Relationships

When you're reading a document on the Interwebs, you'll notice several textual elements: page titles, headers, sub-headers, bullets, and supporting body text. When you fill out forms, you'll notice that fields are in order (or they should be!), with notes about requiring fields close to the required fields itself. People experiencing visual impairm...
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WCAG 1.3.2: Meaningful Sequence (Screen Readers Are a Thing, People!)

The year is 2005. You're in a bookstore filled with hysterical parents desperately fighting for a dwindling number of newly-released Harry Potter books. It's imperative that you get the book; your daughter has been excited about it for months, and it's not fun if she reads the story after everyone else. Utilizing the kind of high-level athleticism ...
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WCAG: 1.3.3 Sensory Characteristics

Imagine that you created a multi-page survey. You placed a blue arrow button at the bottom corner of the page and wrote instructions at the beginning which told users to select it in order to navigate to the following page. Someone experiencing visual impairment may not be able to find that arrow button referenced in the instructions based on the i...
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WCAG: 1.3.4 Orientation (Some of us Would Rather Use Our Phones)

You've most likely come across websites that aren't mobile compatible. You'd like to read a page in portrait mode, but the page's set default is landscape ,so you have to navigate back forth in order to read an entire line of text. Super annoying, right? For a person with certain physical or sensory disabilities, compatibility with modern tablet an...
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WCAG: 1.3.5 Identify Input Purpose

As much as everyone loves wandering around a Wal-Mart for 8 hours trying to find the right kind of toothpaste, recent developments in technology have allowed many of us the unprecedented luxury of being able to order literally anything online. Online Forms: THEY'RE EVERYWHERE...Online ​ These days, we can take care of more and more of our errands o...
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WCAG: 1.3.6 Identify Purpose

Sure, we know you put a lot of work into the design and layout of your website, but what works for some won't always work for everyone. Users with certain cognitive limitations may wish to personalize or standardize user interfaces in order to make a page more familiar and easily comprehensible. Accordingly, the rule discussed in this post asks tha...
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WCAG: 1.4.1 Use of Color (Nothing Wrong With Standing Out)

So far in our noble quest to make WCAG 2.0 understandable, we've discussed a number of ways to provide alternatives to content on your site that would otherwise be difficult for those experiencing visual or auditory impairment to understand, such as alt text, captioning, sign language, and audio descriptions. The set of guidelines in WCAG 1.4 'Dist...
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WCAG: 1.4.2 Audio Control (It's Not 1995; Please Keep Your Website Quiet)

Anyone using a screen reader will experience the content on your website as audio. So, if your site contains a sound component that plays automatically, someone with visual impairment who relies on screen reader technology may have a difficult time, as the audio from their screen reader will have to compete with the sound on your site. Separate Con...
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