Blogs and Accessibility

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I was in a meeting yesterday with Bill Welsh of the Office for Disability Services along with Christian Vinten-Johansen, Dave and Wendy to discuss accessibility of new technologies including blogs.

How accessible were the blogs? Fairly accessibile, but with some quirks.

POSITIVES
* Movable Type incorporates comprehensible ALT Tags for image icons
* Movable Type generates well structured XHTML which makes it easier for screen reader users to navigate a blog posting
* Tabbed browsing is enabled, even in the side buttons (you have to keep tabbing though)
* Entry forms fields were generally well labelled for screen reader access
* Color contrast is generally good from the entry side. Color variation in post themes are more variable, but good contrast themes are available

GOTCHAS
The big gotcha was all the embedded Javascript included in the code. It's not clear how a screen reader would be able to handle all of it.

A visually impaired user could likely read a blog and probably add comments, but could they post to their own blog without help? We will see.

COURSE ALTERNATIVES
If a course is requiring the use of blogs for a course, it may be the case that you would need to allow for alternate technologies such as an ANGEL Discussion Forum or e-mail for some users.

In some cases, a saavy visually impaired user could post their own entries in static Web pages (I used to do that myself in a 'pseudo-blog')

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