Expert: Involve users to ensure accessible Web sites

Expert: Involve users to ensure accessible Web sites

Government agencies should keep in mind three rules'clarity, compatibility and usability'in making their Web sites accessible to people with disabilities, an industry expert said today.

'There is a need to focus on compatibility of Web sites with assistive and adaptive technologies,' said Mike Paciello, founder and chief technology officer of WebAble Inc. of Boston, at a conference in Washington titled Section 508 and You, presented by Post Newsweek Tech Media Group and the General Services Administration.

'You have to ensure that whatever you are creating is already compatible with what people with disabilities are using today,' he said.

'First of all, perform your own inspection of the Web site for HTML 4.0 or 4.1 because all Clinger-Cohen [Act] concepts for accessibility were put into 4.0,' Paciello said.

He said it is important to involve people with disabilities in the design and testing of the Web site, and to make the busiest Web pages accessible first.

'All of us need to focus on user needs, user requirements and user testing process to ensure accessibility,' Paciello said. 'It's nothing more than attitude.'

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