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 - Accessible Authoring Environment (Page 11 of 11 )
A significant improvement to Dreamweaver MX 2004 over its predecessors is its cooperation with assistive technologies. With improved labeling and sequencing of buttons, Dreamweaver MX 2004 is now the most powerful web development environment for users of assistive technologies, such as the Window-Eyes and JAWS screen readers.
Several features have been added to Dreamweaver MX 2004 to make it easier for persons with disabilities to create web pages. Among these features are two new shortcut keys that allow users to access Dreamweaver MX 2004 panels using the keyboard. The first of these shortcuts, Ctrl+Alt+Tab, allows the user to access the panel groups in Dreamweaver MX 2004. For example, pressing Ctrl+Alt+Tab once displays the Design panel group. From there, pressing Tab moves the user among the buttons of the open panel. Pressing Ctrl+Tab displays the different panels in the group.
The second shortcut allows the user to redisplay the page window by pressing Ctrl+Alt+Home. Users will need this keystroke after moving among individual panels and panel groups.
Two other useful new features of Dreamweaver MX 2004 specifically support users with impaired vision, and who use a screen reader. Both of these options are available in Edit -> Preferences under the accessibility category. The first, Make Dreamweaver Use Large Fonts, increases the default font size within the Dreamweaver application. The menu options and panels are then easier to read for those with low vision.
The second, Offscreen rendering (Disable when using Screen Readers ), offers improved performance for screen reader users in Dreamweaver MX 2004. To prevent flickering, Dreamweaver uses double buffering, which draws the screen in memory before displaying it to the user. Screen readers work best with this option disabled because they only read the foreground screen, not the screen generated in the background.
This chapter outlined the accessibility features in Macromedia Dreamweaver MX 2004. Dreamweaver MX 2004 is a powerful tool for people with disabilities who are creating web sites and for the development of accessible web sites and web applications. Dreamweaver MX 2004 automates many elements of creating accessible sites and prompts designers to provide information when necessary. Dreamweaver MX 2004 also includes powerful validation and reference tools to help designers ensure that their sites are designed properly.
The development of accessible web sites ensures that the site’s content is not obscured by design elements; furthermore, an accessible web site is compatible with the assistive technologies used by people with disabilities, such as screen readers, touch screens, or head pointers. Dreamweaver MX 2004 was developed to provide better keyboard access and to work with screen readers, and it is the first professional design tool to be accessible to individuals with disabilities.
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.
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