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 - Accessibility Validation (Page 9 of 11 )
Dreamweaver MX 2004 includes a comprehensive set of tools that can validate the accessibility of a single page, a group of pages, or even an entire site. The new Accessibility Reports tool (shown in Figure 3-13) validates web pages for compliance with Section 508 standards and the WCAG Priority 1 checkpoints.
Figure 3-13.The Accessibility Reports tool
The accessibility report (shown in Figure 3-14) identifies all areas with obvious errors, such as missing alt text, as well as areas that require a manual evaluation, such as color combinations. In addition, when a designer or developer selects an individual item from the report, the corresponding part of the page is highlighted to point the designer directly to the area in need of attention.
Figure 3-14.An accessibility report
Beyond the validation tools built into Dreamweaver MX 2004, there are a variety of third-party products available that perform more sophisticated types of validation functions and help automate the repair of sites. One such product is LIFT for Dreamweaver from UsableNet ( http://www.usablenet.com/). LIFT allows designers to validate a page as it is being constructed, pointing out problems as they appear on the page. LIFT also helps designers automate the repair of some of the most complex accessibility issues. For example, LIFT offers designers the ability to quickly repair complex tables using the headers and id attributes quickly, with a graphical interface. For designers who regularly work with these types of complex problems, LIFT can be a very valuable tool.
Dreamweaver MX 2004 includes a built-in accessibility refe1rence, as seen in Figure 3-15. This reference explains each of the rules used to check pages for accessibility and includes links to more detailed information about each issue. This reference tool makes it easier for designers to master the specific accessibility issues relevant to their sites. The reference tool can be used with the accessibility report so that the designer can request more information about a rule listed in the report, and view the response in the accessibility reference panel.