Improving Web Site Accessibility
This article explains to users how they might improve their viewing pleasure of our site by making a few changes in their software and/or hardware settings on their computer.
This Web site is written, being developed, and maintained by a senior citizen. Please do NOT tell me that you cannot deal with computers or the Internet; because if I can do it, so can you.
Today's modern Web browsers are written with object oriented programming techniques that work by embedding a Web rendering engine inside the browser code. Currently, there are three major Web rendering engines: WebKit (Safari & Chrome), Gecko (Mozilla & Firefox), and Trident (Internet Explorer). There used to be a fourth, Presto, that was formerly used by Opera. But due to Presto being incompatible with Apple's mobile iOS operating system, it was dropped during 2013.
This site has been tested on the four major PC Web browsers; Internet Explorer, FireFox, Chrome, and Safari. It has been tested at the screen resolution of 1024 x 728 . And now uses a fixed page width of 1,000 pixels in response to the growing trend of more and more people using a superwide monitor with wider and ever wider screen resolution.
The name of the game is to periodically upgrade your Internet related software.
While the rate at which some Web browsers are upgraded is more than a bit ridiculous, ALL users of this Web site are expected to be running the current versions of a number of different software programs: Web Browsers, Adobe Flash Player, and some times the Adobe Shockwave Player or even Java. Reality is that Web developers are constantly pushing the envelop by adding new features to Web sites. Ergo, unless you make a conscious effort to occasionally update your software, you will in a relatively short period of time be left behind and will miss out on some exciting new features.
While you might assume that your Web browser is automatically downloading and installing the latest version of Flash and Java, that is NOT always the case. Thus, you should occasionally check just how up to date your installed versions of this software is.
This notification should be a wake up call to anybody currently surfing the Web with what is considered legacy software by Web developers. I have news for you, Microsoft Internet Explorer version 7, or below, is considered by today's standards to be legacy or obsolete software. That means IE version 8 or above for everyone, or ideally the latest versions of an alternative Web browser like Comodo Dragon / Google Chrome.
Does this YouTube video play on your Web browser?
You should read our article on YouTube Has Gone With the HTML5 Player.
We strongly suggest that you dump the lame FireFox browser for Comodo Dragon / Google Chrome.
Times have changed, and this Web page has evolved from the issue of achieving a consistent look in different alternative Web browsers to its present topic of Web accessibility. For this Web site, this Web page stands for our attempt to improve Web accessibility for all.
Web Site Accessibility: What is it? And, how to achieve it is still very debatable. Here, in Lesson 1 we see a Web site that presumes to teach web developers how to achieve it. Yet, is itself poorly designed. This webmaster, for one, experienced a visual accessibility problem trying to read that supposedly well designed Web page in Internet Explorer. While in Mozilla's Firefox web browser there is no apparent page width problem. Achieving Web Site Accessibility is still more of an art than a science.
This is a well designed informational Web site. It is NOT using any of the latest and greatest fantasy graphical based Web features. Nor, does it use sound. We are fully Text Accessible. We comply to a few basic coding concepts, even if the code does NOT comply completely to specific W3C xHTML coding standards. Most of all we have achieved a consistent look in a large number of different Web browsers. What else can a low budget Web site be expected to do? After all, there are over 4,000 different languages currently in use on planet Earth. English is currently the language of choice. Most people are in fact able to see. This Web site pays attention to what the majority of viewers are using. However, if any funding source is willing to finance better Web accessibility please email this Web site.
In the end, the computer user must always make the correct choices. For example, users can sometimes deal with Web pages that require horizontal scrolling by reducing the font size, either with text zooming or with Microsoft's text size command. Or, you could simply switch to another Web browser, such as Mozilla's Firefox. However, these tactics do not always work on some poorly designed Web pages found on sites other than this one.
This Web site is written in only one language: English. Quite frankly, just about the only way that you will find this Web site on the Internet is to search for it with terms written in the English language. So, the push to increase the language accessibility of health Web sites is probably just a futile academic exercise.
You can translate this Web site into various other languages by installing 3rd party Web browser toolbars that offer Web page translation services.
Google is a large multi-national company with operations in many different foreign countries. Google offers a good Web page translating toolbar. However, before you can translate the current Web page you must first have selected the PageRank Display in their options after the toolbar has been installed successfully in your Web browser. Then you must click on the PageRank drop down menu icon for the Web page translating option.
Download the Google Toolbar
To download the correct toolbar for your native language
Also translating services are offered by various Web sites such as Google's Language Tools. But, you might get better results by purchasing translating software.
How to enlarge the text of a Web page.
The first place to look for answers to your potential accessibility problems is your choice of computer hardware. Are you using the correct size video monitor for your level of visual acuity, for example? If needed, do you have hardware and/or software / screen readers, such as JAWS® for Windows, installed that will automatically translate text into audio? Also, is your video display card / monitor showing signs of wear? In other words, is your video display card or monitor defective? If so, you should replace them.
Next, is your operating system set up correctly? Is your choice of the most appropriate screen resolution for your level of visual acuity correct? You may be surprised to learn that you usually have a choice of several different screen resolutions and default font sizes to choose from. You must choose correctly whether you prefer larger or smaller font sizes. Further, have you installed any needed accessibility options offered by your computer operating system?
Next, are you using a Web browser that provides for text zooming? With text zooming you can automatically increase or decrease font sizes on any Web page at the touch of a few key strokes, such as with Ctrl +. Does your choice of Web browser allow you to select your own choice of fonts on any Web page? If not, why not?
If you have special needs are you using a Web browser that is specifically designed for people with disabilities? If not, why not?
All of the above accessibility choices are under your own control. It is your responsibility to implement them. This Web site will work quite well with any and all of the above options.
We use Cascading Styling Sheets (CSS) with a Web page template that validates on W3C 1.0 XHTML coding. However, most of our individual pages do NOT validate perfectly. We have dropped full support for the older versions of many Web browsers in favor of faster loading times for our Web pages, but still use a layout table based Web page design. Netscape v4 is used by us to represent all the older CSS challenged browsers. With a CSS challenged browser the page should be still viewable, but the main navigation menu bar which normally would appear just below the page header; appears at the bottom of the page on any browser that cannot deal with CSS. For these grossly out of date browsers, our Web page template will display the wrong fonts at the wrong sizes. And, the graphic display backgrounds are no longer visible. All the informational content on this site is accessible no matter which browser you are using, because our articles have been tested with Netscape v4.
- No guarantee is made that this site will look the same in all respects, equally pretty, dazzle you, or load fast in ALL Web browsers. If a particular Web page looks funny, the problem is probably your browser or browser settings.
The Opera web browser was found to offer better Text Only Access than Microsoft's Internet Explorer. The Opera Web browser is recommended for best text only viewing.
This site is NO longer best viewed with Microsoft's Internet Explorer!
Microsoft's IE and email program have been attacked by hackers so many times that it is simply NOT safe to continue to use them on the Internet. The easiest way any user can increase their Internet security is by STOP using IE as your default browser. Of course, you still have to set up your Internet security options correctly no matter which browser you are using.
The owner and operator of this Web site is currently using the Google Chrome alternate Web browser.
Mozilla's Firefox is a small browser that comes without an email and newsreader program. A nice feature of Foxfire was that as part of the installation process it gave you the option of importing all your data from IE, like favorites / bookmarks and passwords. This makes converting over to a new browser, as easy as it is going to get. I was also able to install the Google Toolbar in Foxfire. Other handy features are tabbed browsing, pop-up blocking, and the ability to search bookmarks/favorites. But since Flash has caused FireFox, in the past at least, to lockup and otherwise crash PC computers, Google Chrome is now our recommended Web browser.
The ideal screen resolution to view this site is at least 1024x768. This web site is designed to cater to the majority of viewers who use a screen resolution over 1024x768. The smaller displays will look better with the smaller fonts, while the larger displays do better with the larger fonts.
Due to the existing technological advances in video display the 640x480 format is obsolete; but appears to be experiencing a come back on mobile devices.
No matter what screen resolution you are using this site should look sharp
and clear. If any Web page looks grainy then either you are using the wrong
software driver for your display hardware, or your hardware is defective.
FULL SCREEN access is, also, available in many Web browser such as by hitting the [F11] function key in Microsoft's IE. In Full Screen access, most of the browsers headers and footers are not visible. Thus, more of the informational text of our site is visible in Full Screen mode.
Anybody having trouble viewing this site should seriously consider upgrading to one of the following FREE Web browsers. Internet Explorer users might consider using an alternative Web browser because the latest version of Netscape, Opera, and Mozilla support Text Font Zooming.
- Internet Explorer for Windows
- Netscape's open source Mozilla project -- supports Microsoft Windows (95,98,ME,NT,2000,XP), AIX, Linux, Mac OS, OpenVMS, HPUX, and FreeBSD.
- Opera -- supports Windows, BeOS, Linux/Solaris, Mac, OS/2, and Symbian OS.
- Konqueror -- a modern graphical browser for Unix/Linux.
- Apple's Safari -- for the Mac, and Windows XP or Vista
Section 508 Amendment to the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)
Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI)
Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 1.0
Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0
All this accessibility verbiage is nothing, but total nonsense, and a power grab on the part of a few foreign, power hungry, overpaid bureaucrats, and programmers; who are clearly trying to scam Web developers into using their services IMHO.
"The power of the Web is in its universality. Access by everyone regardless of disability is an essential aspect."
In a pigs eye! No group of people, nor individual, has any right whatsoever to access the content of this copyrighted Web site. Accessing my content is a privilege, NOT a right. Visitors accessing our site should read our complete Terms of Service Agreement for further information on Termination of Use. Webmasters can and have been blocking people from accessing the content of their sites for decades. Some Web sites, like YouTube, will even block access to visitors using the wrong Web Browser, such as Internet Explorer version 6 for example. I know because it has happened to me, personally.
In fact, checking my statistical package I have no evidence whatsoever that a blind person has ever accessed this Web site one time, over the last year, whereas I know that people are still using Netscape version 3 and Internet Explorer version 2 to access this site. If the blind are visiting this site, their numbers are certainly a well kept secret and would appear to be less than one percent of all visits, if even that many. Why are NOT all these Assistive Technology visits clearly showing up in my visitor statistics? As a Web developer, I want to see the numbers!
It is high time for the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and for all the Assistive Technologies out there to adapt to both the real world and to how the Web operates for the NORMAL population. If you want a text equivalent for every non-text element then it is high time that you got Google and all the other major suppliers of same to provide source code that passes the muster of all your idiot accessibility checkers without any need for editing on the part of me and all the other Web developers.
Anybody wishing to access this site should be using the appropriate technology, and because of W3C and their push for Web developers to use CSS exclusively; Netscape version 3 and Internet Explorer version 2 is certainly NOT appropriate for surfing today's Web, any more than some antiquated Assistive Technology Web browser is.
I was NOT born yesterday. W3C and economic marketing forces have clearly been telling Web developers for a long time that we should NOT have any problems abandoning visitors using antiquated CSS challenged Web browsers, like Netscape version 3 and Internet Explorer version 2. Why should the blind be any different from these folks? Clearly their Assertive Technology has NOT adapted to the point of telling me when a blind person has visited this site. Until I see the numbers, I see no reason to believe that a blind person has ever visited this site, nor that they have found my site unnavigable. If sighted visitors have a tough time navigating the Web, and my site, or that senior citizens as a group clearly do NOT even try to help themselves, why should this Web Developer be overly concerned that a few blind persons out of all the blind persons surfing the Web might be experiencing difficulty? The answer is that I clearly should NOT. I should be no more concerned about them, than I am about a bunch of sighted people who do NOT know what they are doing when they surf the Web, or how to properly use their PC in general.