Beyond HTML: Accessible Applications

Although many standards, such as the Website Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) were developed for websites and HTML, the underlying principles can be applied to other technology too. WCAG covers design principles around the presentation of content, the navigability of controls (using a mouse or keyboard, for example), and general principles of user interaction. Understanding these principles at the first stages of development will help you make appropriate design decisions throughout the project, regardless of the specific technology. The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) provides guidance on applying WCAG to other technologies besides websites.

With respect to testing, there are a few standard tools for testing the accessibility of software programs through automation. Microsoft’s Accessibility Insights for Windows is an example of this. Most modern operating systems have accessibility technology built into the operating system. Take the time to explore the accessibility features from your target OS, and use the tools to test your software throughout your development. See Testing Throughout Development for more examples and guidance.



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