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Web Accessibility: Web Standards and Regulatory Compliance Paperback – Sep 4 2010
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About the Author
Richard Rutter lives and works in Brighton, U.K. He is production director for the web consultancy Clearleft (www.clearleft.com). Richard has been designing and developing websites for nigh on 10 years. Early in 2003, he built his first blogging engine, which still powers his weblog Clagnut (www.clagnut.com), in which he harps on about accessibility, web standards, and mountain biking.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The book is deep and vast. It covers aspects of accessibility you might not even have known were possible. There's big-picture stuff, and hands-on, dirty code. There are smart, insightful tips on working with users, and there is detailed information about complying with accessibility laws. It's a concept book and a code book, a book filled with detailed guidelines, and also one that encourages you to think for yourself as you interpret those guidelines.
I bought the first edition of this book and have given it to clients and colleagues. The new edition is even more useful. If you want your site to be accessible, you need this book.
The book was split up into three parts:
* Part 1: The Impact of Web Accessibility was initially a tough section to get through. This is a very important section, and sets the foundation for the rest of the book, but I was initially overwhelmed by all of the terms presented (some of which I was unfamiliar with related to standards). This section was full of great information, as well as links to discover even more information.
* Part 2: Implementing Accessible Websites covers a broad range of topics (listed above). This was the lengthiest part of the book, but well worth the read. Much of what was discussed in these chapters has been discussed in other books I have read lately. Each chapter goes in-depth on creating accessible websites and using the technology at hand. The chapter related to assistive devices confirmed what Nathan Smith said, "I mean, I always thought browser differences were bad, but compared to the many screen reader quirks, wow." Overall, it discusses best practices for web development.
* Part 3: Accessibility Law and Policy wraps up the entire book. This section covers the legal information in an array of different countries as they relate to websites. Again, I was worried that this section might be dry - but I found it easy to read and learned much.
Most of this book could be summed up by Cynthia Waddell at the end of Chapter 16 where she states:
"The economic, political, and ethical benefits far outweigh the cost of this effort. The cost of being inaccessible - missing the boat on the coming age of thin clients, failing to serve our most needful citizens and employees, and legal liability - can be incalculable.
This millennium offers unprecedented opportunities for efficient, effective governance. The Internet should be accessible to all. It is the right thing to do."
This book is a must have for any serious web developer. Don't be intimated by the size, it is well worth the read (and chock full of extra resources).
perfect reference for any site development team. Everything you've
wanted to know about Accessibility and the Web is here in a single text.
Each member of the team will find necessary information and practical
solutions in one or more of the thorough discussions here. For the
designer/developer who works alone, Web Accessibility: Web Standards and
Regulatory Compliance is the all-in-one reference with the most
up-to-date information and techniques. Thanks to the clear organization,
two tables of contents, and index, all information is easy to find as
For those of us who like background and theory, the book contains lively
discussions of accessibility standards, of the intent of the standards,
and suggestions for using the standards. For me, though, the heart of
the text is in the practical discussions and how-to guides in order to
improve accessibility of every common web technology -- from PDF to
descriptions of the law and web accessibility. Importantly, these
discussions are international in scope.
The collective experience of the authors of this text is impressive.
These are the experts to whom we've turned to assist us with accessible
design and development for years. In this text, we have a collection of
the most knowledgeable voices on the subject of accessibility, who speak from a real-world
perspective. They share freely their best techniques, so that we can
create the "best possible experience for the greatest number of
For me, Web Accessibility: Web Standards and Regularory Compliance is a
The book is an overview of accessible best practices in web technology, and the legal landscape it inhabits. It was compiled with several target audiences in mind.
Certainly, it is intended for developers - newcomers as well as veterans. This is the group that most needs to understand the technology, and unfortunately, seems to "get it" the least.
Another audience is the managers and administrators; that group that should be most adverse to risk and whose responsibility is to keep their government and corporate employers out of the courts and headlines (like those that have embarrassed [Target retailer]). Covered in some detail are the ADA section 504 and section 508 requirements, and in lesser detail international laws.
A book assembled as a compendium of contributions begs to be updated frequently. The next release, for example, could add much needed chapters on AJAX and Web 2.0, podcasting, and learning management technologies. Regardless, all practitioners of accessibility will find this book valuable.
That said, it is sorely in need of an update.
When Web Accessibility was published, Internet Explorer 7 had not yet been released, nor had Firefox 2. Netscape was still hanging around, and Gmail was still in beta. XHTML 2.0 was supposed to herald a golden age of Web standards.
All that seems like centuries ago in the timeline of the Internet, and portions of this book provide examples of the best practices and techniques from that time. Having come through that era of Web development and emerged on the other side, I can say that some of the techniques might still be useful; most are not. And that's where, today, with no new edition of this book available (and no clear successor), I have to dock it at least one star. The outdated code samples put an unnecessary burden on today's reader to know enough about past techniques to know when to reject them, and enough about today's best practices to know what has replaced them.
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