eAccess: Site Access Hints

10 December 2003


Contents




Accessibility Policy

This site is intended to be as accessible as possible to all users.

In general, the site is designed to conform to relevant technical standards and to avoid placing gratuitous barriers in the way of access. We also have a specific policy to conform to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0 (WCAG) of the World Wide Web Consortium, at level Double-A (W3C, 1999c).

Some Access Hints

Every HTML page in the site is designed to have a common general layout as follows:

This overall layout is identified by approriate level 1 headings (h1 elements); so a browser capable of extracting headings will show this top level structure.

HTML link elements have been used to provide some standardized navigation links on each page; on browsers supporting them, these provide alternative navigation to the in-page site navigation bar.

A bypass navigation link is provided as the first link in the site navigation bar (and as a link element bookmark). For users of serial access technologies (such as braille displays, speech synthesisers, or high magnification display) this provides a relatively quick means to skip this repetitive navigation information which could otherwise be slow to traverse.

If the main page content is of significant length then it will normally be preceded by a "Contents" section, which contains links directly to the subsections within the page.

More complex pages may include both a bibliography section and/or a footnotes section, with hypertext cross-references from the main text.

Links from the main text to entries in the bibliography normally use the author-date citation style. That is, the link text will consist of an author name, followed by the year of publication. Depending on the context, this may all be in parentheses, or only the year may be parenthesized. Selecting such a link will move to the particular entry in the bibliography. If the cited resource is available on the web, then the resource title in the bibliography will normally be a link to it. In such cases, the bibliography will also include a note as to when the resource was accessed by the author (which may--or may not--be some indication of whether it is likely to still be available).

Here is an example citation, referring to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines: (W3C, 1999c)

Footnotes provide additional information which may clarify or elaborate a point made in the main text; but which may generally also be skipped without interfering with the flow of the main text. The presence of footnotes is indicated in the main text by a link with the word "Note", followed by the note number, all enclosed in square brackets. This will be linked to the actual note text (the text of all footnotes will generally be gathered together at the bottom of the page). Here is an example: [Note 1]

The Page Administrative Information at the bottom of each page normally includes logos indicating that the page conforms to HTML and CSS validity requirements; these logos are linked to the relevant W3C validation service, so that, if you wish, you can check the validity claim by activating the appropriate link. (If you discover any page that fails such validation, we would, of course, like to hear about it!)

User Technology Requirements

The site is designed to impose minimal requirements on user technology.

It will work best through a modern browser that supports the HTML 4 (W3C, 1999b) and CSS (W3C, 1999a,1998) standards; however, all content should still be accessible even in older browsers.

In the specific case of the Netscape Navigator 4.x (and earlier) browser, serious design difficulties are posed by the fact that support for presentational styling (CSS) in that browser series is extremely unreliable. In at least some cases, the browser might actually crash if given the correct, standards compliant, styling instructions used on this site. Therefore, the site takes the conservative position of effectively disabling all CSS styling in such browsers. This means that the visual appearance of the site will be determined purely by the browser's default presentational rules. This is likely to appear somewhat primitive. However, it should remain completely usable and functional.

The site does provide some resources in PDF format. This is primarily intended to support printing of good quality hardcopy for those users who want that. However, in all such cases, the content is also available in HTML. If you do want to use the PDF format resources you will require compatible viewing software, such as Acrobat Reader or xpdf. The PDF format generally contains the same text as the corresponding HTML resource. However, URLs for external hyperlinks are generally exposed via additional footnotes. This incidentally means that the numbering of footnotes will generally be different between the HTML and PDF versions.


If We Fall Short?

If you:

then we would greatly appreciate hearing from you!

Please email your comments and suggestions directly to:

Barry.McMullin@rince.ie

Bibliography

W3C (1998),
`Cascading Style Sheets, level 2: CSS2 Specification', World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).
W3C (1999a),
`Cascading Style Sheets, level 1', World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).
W3C (1999b),
`HTML 4.01 Specification', World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).
W3C (1999c),
`Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)', World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).
(Accessed: 20 April 2002)

Footnotes

... example:[Note 1 - ref]
This is just an example footnote; notice the preceding link back to the position of the footnote reference...

Page Administrative Information

Maintainer: eaccess@rince.ie