Archive for January, 2008

Microsoft versioning: accessibility implications

I’m still working out my whole response to the Microsoft versioning idea (and feeling sad as the WaSP eats itself).

But there’s one practical problem with the suggestion that pages without the MMM™ (Magic Microsoft Metatag™) become ossified under IE7 for all time. IE7 (and its predecessors) makes some in-page links entirely inaccessible to keyboard users. Yes—completely unreachable to blind people and those with motor impairments.

Read Gez Lemon’s Keyboard Navigation and Internet Explorer article for a full investigation of the problem, but in a nutshell:

…when using the keyboard to navigate to an in-page link, pressing the tab key once the target has received focus causes IE to continue navigating from the start of the document (or more accurately, the closest ancestor with the hasLayout property set to true).

If you have IE7, you can check out my IE7 keyboard navigation test page. Activating the first link should put focus in the last paragraph; a further tab should take you to the very last link on the page. But IE just takes you back to the top, making that link impossible to reach.

There are code workarounds—but if a site-owner doesn’t know to add the MMM™ to the top of their pages, they’re unlikely to know or care abut those workarounds.

So freezing the web to IE7 levels consigns much of it to perpetual inaccessibility.

Tell the CSS WG what you want from CSS3

With all the tizzy about the CSS Working Group not listening to what designers really need, no-one noticed that in December, an invited expert to the group asked for such a steer from web professionals:

The CSSWG plans to discuss its charter at our next face-to-face meeting in March. If groups like CSS3.info, the CSS Eleven, and the WaSP and/or individuals like Jeffrey Zeldman and Eric Meyer could organize a collectively-written list of priorities and submit it to us before then, we could take that into account when writing our charter for 2008+.

So at the Web Standards Project we’re collecting such a list of priorities. Thinking caps on, if you please, and comments there.

Web Accessibility – in Japanese!

Goodness, whatever is this, poking cheekily out of my signature Hello Kitty backpack?

me, wearing pink Hello Kitty backpack, from which protrudes a green  book with Japanese writing on the front

Why, it’s my Web Accessibility book, snappily re-titled Webアクセシビリティ ~標準準拠でアクセシブルなサイトを構築/管理するための考え方と実践, translated into Japanese.

It’s the Seijin shiki festival on 14 Jan, so why not buy several copies for your Japanese friends?

There’s also talk of the book being translated into Chinese. Who knows: one day I might even see a royalty cheque.