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Accessibility Options

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The TAM Technology Instructional Resources site is operated by the Technology and Media Division (TAM) of the Council for Exceptional Children. It has been designed for ease of use.

Every attempt has been made to ensure that the site meets standards of the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). Accessibility guidelines and recommendations made by Nielsen (2000) and Paciello (2000) also were used in designing the site.

This page summarizes the specific accessibility options that are provided or supported. It is displayed in a large font to accommodate those who may have difficulty reading small text on computer screens. Additional information about controlling font size for the rest of the site is provided in the Fonts and Font Sizes section.

The TECHNOLOGY INSTRUCTIONAL RESOURCES MAIN MENU contains links to a series of submenus. The submenus, in turn, list links to specific content related to technology instruction, resources for use in instruction, discussion forums, and related external Web sites. The link descriptions on all menus have been designed to be intuitive to users.

Navigation bars appear at the top and bottom of each screen to help keep you from getting lost. Links appear there that you can use to retrace your steps. The last item in the top navigation bar is not a link. It is a short phrase that describes the current page.

The site has been designed to enable visitors who require, or prefer, alternate ways to access information that is on the World Wide Web. The pages on the site have been submitted to the accessibility review provided by software developed at the Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST). Thus, the site can be designated as BOBBY APPROVED FOR ACCESSIBILITY.

Following is a summary of specific accessibility options that are provided or supported:

• FONTS AND FONT SIZES

The Arial font is used throughout the Web site. It is a sans-serif font that is easy to read with any Web browser, regardless of the computer being used.

Because they are difficult to read on computer screens, no italics are used. If you prefer to use a different font, you should be able to do so by setting the FONT PREFERENCES feature of your Web browser.

Font sizes have been set through relative, as opposed to absolute, font sizing. You should be able to increase or decrease the font size in your Web browser's menu or font preferences control panel.

• GRAPHICS, ANIMATIONS, AND ALT TAGS

Graphics have been kept to a minimum, and no animations are used. The current version uses only three graphics: (1) The TAM logo, which appears in the upper left hand corner of each screen; (2) The graphic on the Home Page that designates this an accessible site, as determined by the CAST review; and (3) Horizontal lines, which separate sections of information on the screens.

ALT tags have been attached to each of the graphics to aid those who are using screen reader software or text-only Web browsers. The first ALT tag on the Main Menu page identifies the TAM LOGO and the last designates that the site is BOBBY APPROVED.

The ALT tags in the section separators that are used throughout the site have been designed to inform users about the content that follows. The first separator is labeled PAGE TITLE AND LINKS TO SITE TOOLS. The site tools include this page, a site map, and a search engine that will support a search of the site by descriptor. The next one is labeled DESCRIPTION and/or INSTRUCTIONS that relate to the information contained on the page. The third is CONTENT. Section separators used throughout content narrative have null messages in their ALT tags so that they won't be read by screen readers. At the bottom of each page, the section separator immediately before the bottom navigation bar is labeled SELECT AN OPTION TO CONTINUE. The final separator is labeled END OF PAGE.

If you want to view the pages without the graphics, or if you are using screen reader software, you can turn the display of graphics off in your Web browser by disabling the image loading feature. As an alternative, you might try a text-only Web browser, such as Lynx.

• TABLES AND SCREEN READER SOFTWARE

There is one table at the top of each page. It consists of one row with two columns. The first column contains the TAM logo. The second column contains the title of the page and links to site tools that are available.

Additional tables are used only in pages that require them to present data or related information. This can be confusing to those who use older versions of screen reader software because the text in all parallel table cells is pronounced in a line-by-line fashion as the user progresses down the screen. Newer versions of screen reading software can translate the cells of parallel table cells into linear form. If you own a version of JAWS for Windows earlier than 3.7, you can obtain a free upgrade that reads tables appropriately. If you are a JAWS user, you can linearize tables by using the F-5 function key on your computer keyboard.

Please send an e-mail to the developer of this site if you encounter any difficulties in accessing the information on this site or if you have suggestions for making it more accessible.

• PRINT REFERENCES

Nielsen, J. (2000). Designing web usability: The practice of simplicity. Indianapolis, IN: New Riders Publishing.

Paciello, M. G. (2000). Web accessibility for people with disabilities. Lawrence, KS: CMP Books.

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Posted March 8, 2002