Review: Universal Design for Web Applications

by Web Teacher
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★★★★★ Universal Design for Web Applications by Wendy Chisholm and Matt May is from O’Reilly (2008). This is a great little book. It manages to take a new approach to accessibility that includes HTML, CSS, scripting, AJAX, RIAs and does it briefly in a clear and simple way. A perfectly accessible book.

Anyone teaching HTML, CSS, scripting, AJAX, RIA or topics such as creating iPhone apps should have this book on hand. The thing I like most about this book is that it does so much with so little space. I didn’t really learn anything new about accessibility—I’m fairly well informed on the topic. But someone who was not already knowledgeable could get the essentials with ease from this book. Although the authors stress that the book is not a WCAG 2.0 tutorial, they also make it clear that the information in the book can be used to achieve Level A success with WCAG 2.0.

If every student coming out of a class on HTML, CSS, scripting, AJAX, or some RIA had the background in this small book, the web would be well on the way to universally accessible.

Here’s a look at the table of contents:

  1. Introduction to Universal Design
  2. Selling it
  3. Metadata
  4. Structure and Design
  5. Forms
  6. Tabular Data
  7. Video and Audio
  8. Scripting
  9. Ajax and WAI-ARIA
  10. Rich Internet Applications
  11. The process

There’s also an appendix with a cross-reference to universal design for web applications that uses 20 questions based on Level A Success Criteria on WCAG 2.0 specs.

Summary: Easy, practical, and comprehensive. Good for reference or a course in accessibility.

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