last modified: 2006.11.14.
author: Renkecz Anita Orsolya
The EPA-sites under the efolyoirat.oszk.hu domain aim to fulfill the accessibility criteria set by the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI). However, they are not the per-se accessible version of the EPA itself, but a whole alternative skin for the service that carries all functionalities of the original service in a compact form. Upon deciding the creation of this design, we didn't set the aspects of accessibility only upon the strict term of content and functionalities usable by disabled persons or in problematic environments. Flexibility, transparency and a more aesthetic layout are all important for the general usability of a site that aims to be a more comfortable information retrieval tool. In other words, at the start of the designing process we translated "accessibility" as "comfort".
In the process of creating a comfortable environment we first decided how the original functionalities should be transformed into the new structure. We discarded the idea of keeping the original set of dynamic mechanisms, since one of our main purposes was to reduce redundancy, and some of the original functionalities turned out to be of more trouble than use.
In drafting the new shape of the EPA, we relied on the European Cultural Websites Quality Criteria Handbook created within the framework of the Minerva Project in order to ensure better understanding and interoperability with cultural resources on the Web. We strive of fulfill the top ten criteria of website design according to the following:
The second step of the rebuilding process was to rewrite our whole site in HTML-code. This was the main stage of accessibility procedures, and this phase was the most thoroughly supported with established standards from the World Wide Web Consortium and the Web Accessibility Initiative. In assessing accessibility, we relied on version 1.0 of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, (WCAG10) on a provisional basis, because this is an accepted normative document.
After the basic HTML structure was built, the process was separated into two parallel branches: programming and design. When adding the functionalities to the static HTML we kept in mind the following:
The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0 gives very specific instructions concerning the major points of accessibility. To fulfill the requirements, we designed out layout according to the following criteria:
After all three design processes were finished we selected evaluation tools recommended in the specifications of the W3C to assess the accessibility of our sites.
The above mentioned are all free and open-source tools, available for anybody. Further test are to be conducted alongside usage tests.