Review: Web Accessibility: Web Standards and Regulatory Compliance

Nov 17, 2006 by

Web Teacher

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★★★★★ Web Accessibility: Web Standards and Regulatory Compliance (Friends of Ed, 2006) has multiple authors, each of whom writes one or more chapters on topics related to their particular expertise, which means that every chapter has the most authoritative information to be found. The authors are Jim Thatcher, Machael R.Burks, Christian Heilmann, Shawn Lawton Henry, Andrew Kirkpatrick, Patrick H. Lauke, Bruce Lawson, Bob Regan, Richard Rutter, Mark Urban, and Cynthia D. Waddell.

Everything you need in a reference to web accessibility is here. The first section (three chapters) talks about the impact of web accessibility, how it is affected by laws and guidelines, and how it is implemented in an enterprise.

The next twelve chapters deal with implementing accessible websites. These chapters were the most relevant to me, but other people might be more interested in other parts of the book. (There’s something for everyone here.) These implementing accessibility chapters included descriptions of assistive technology, detailed definitions and examples of accessible content, accessible navigation, and accessible data input. CSS, JavaScript, Flash and PDF each has a chapter of its own. The accessibility testing chapter is particularly enlightening, especially to anyone who thinks that passing Cynthia Says testing is all they need to do. This section contained a fairly critical examination of the WCAG 2.0 and a really well-written explanation of the difference between a standard and a guideline. The last of the chapters in this section was a case study of a redesign of a university website.

The last section (two chapters) examine accessibility law and policy in depth for the U.S. and worldwide.

Finally, there are the appendices, which are very valuable. There’s a glossary, of course. Appendix B is a useful and usable guide to the Section 508 Standards for Electronic and Information Technology. Appendix C is an overview of PAS 78, a guide to good practice from the British Standards Institution.

This is a reference book, obviously, and a must-have one at that. Every chapter is well thought out, well written, exhaustively complete and up to date. Highly recommended for anyone who makes web sites or manages people who make web sites.

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