An essential aspect

When you visit this website, if you look to the right of your screen, you’ll see a couple of icons in a vertically oriented grey rectangle. The top icon is a black circle that is half open, half solid. The lower icon has two black letter Ts in capital case, but of different sizes.

You’ll also notice that these icons stay in place whether you move the image by scrolling up and down or by using your arrow keys.

The top button allows you to shift to a high contrast screen:

Screenshot of the website in toggle high contrast mode. The background is black, the font is white. Headings and tags appear in blue. A purple rectangle is in the upper righthand corner with the word "menu" written on it. The accessiblity icons appear in white against a maroon background
How the website looks when High Contrast is toggled

The lower button allows you to increase the font size:

Screenshot of the website. The background is a pale grey green, and the font is mostly black. The size of the font is much larger. The toggle font size button appears as white on black on the right hand side.
How the website looks when the Font Size is toggled.

Try them out!

These features allow the website to be more accessible to the visually impaired. You may not see it, but I’ll also endeavour to attach “alt text” for each picture so that people who use screen readers can get a description of the visual image.

I’m able to do this using the WP Accessibility plug-in, something I’m still learning to navigate.

When I started this website, I wanted to make it as barrier-free as possible, inspired by my family’s history with eye diseases and by the Canadian author Jean Little, who was one of my childhood favourites, and who has been legally blind since birth.

There’s more to accessibility than helping people who are visually impaired, of course. For example, if I ever post an audio file, I’ll be sure to include a transcript so that people who are deaf or hard of hearing can access the information as well.

For more information about accessibility online, here’s a link to  the World Wide Web Consortium’s Web Accessibility Initiative:  https://www.w3.org/WAI/

It was Tim Berners-Lee, the director of the Consortium and the inventor of the World Wide Web, who said:

“The power of the Web is in its universality. Access by everyone regardless of disability is an essential aspect.”

I think that the steps I’ve taken here are a good start, although I fully realize I may not have captured everything. Please feel free to correct me!

Copyright 2018 Jessica Allyson

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Author: JAllyson

Jessica Allyson is a pen name derived from a fictitious twin (the doctors were mistaken). During the day, I work for a national members association, at night, I unleash my trivia-loving choir-singing fangirl self. I live in Ottawa, with my husband and our cat, who is our most vocal critic.

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