An accessible website is compatible with the assistive technologies used by people with disabilities. Dreamweaver MX 2004 automates many elements of creating accessible sites and prompts designers to provide information when necessary. It has also been modified to provide better keyboard access and to work with screen readers. (From the book ASP Web Development with Macromedia Dreamweaver MX 2004 by Rachel Andrew et al., Apress, 2004, ISBN: 1590593499.)
Accessibility and Dreamweaver MX 2004 (Page 1 of 11 )
Creating accessible web pages has never been more important than it is today. With the recent adoption of accessibility standards in the United States, Canada, the European Union, Australia, Japan, and Brazil, designers and developers face mandates to ensure that people with disabilities can access the contents of web sites and web applications.
In addition, ensuring that web sites are accessible to people with disabilities is simply the right thing to do. For people with disabilities, the Internet can be a tremendously valuable tool. It can provide access to the world around us, as well as a level of independence not previously possible.
Consider the task of reading a newspaper. Prior to the Internet, a blind person who wanted to read the paper had two choices. He could get a Braille version of the paper—often expensive and hard to find—or he could ask someone to read the paper to him. Today, a blind person is able to use screen reader software to read the news to him from a web site each day. Dependence on others is eliminated.
From a commercial perspective, creating accessible sites is valuable in two respects. First, an accessible site offers an edge over competitors who might not have an accessible site. Providing access to users with disabilities broadens existing markets and potentially opens new ones. Second, an accessible site ensures all visitors have access. For many people with disabilities, accessibility is not about convenience. It is about access to employment, education, and the community.
Dreamweaver MX 2004 provides the most complete set of tools available for building, editing, and maintaining accessible web sites and web applications. Dreamweaver MX 2004 includes tools that prompt designers to provide important accessibility information when inserting images, forms, media, tables, and frames.
Dreamweaver MX 2004 helps designers understand and comply with accessibility standards by including features that provide a reference guide, templates, code snippets, and a built-in accessibility validation tool.
Dreamweaver MX 2004 also introduces a new way of coding Cascading Stylesheets (CSS) and provides improved integration with Macromedia Contribute. CSS provides designers with a comprehensive set of tools for formatting and laying out pages while allowing end users control over the page. This has tremendous benefits for users with disabilities. Pages coded using CSS allow users to modify specific aspects of the page, such as text size and color, or replace the formatting altogether to best meet their individual needs.
Finally, Dreamweaver MX 2004 makes it easier than ever for people with disabilities to create web sites and web applications. With improvements to the authoring environment, Dreamweaver MX 2004 now works with assistive technologies, such as the Window-Eyes™ screen reader from GW Micro ( http://www.gwmicro.com/) and the JAWS screen reader from Freedom Scientific ( http://www.freedomscientific.com/).
This chapter will introduce the topic of accessibility and review the accessibility features of Macromedia Dreamweaver MX 2004. Topics include:
Accessibility preferences options
Accessible authoring environment
This chapter is from ASP Web Development with Macromedia Dreamweaver MX 2004, by Rachel Andrew et al., (Apress, 2004, ISBN: 1590593499). Check it out at your favorite bookstore today.