Adobe® Contribute® 6.5 software offers a unique set of tools that allow website administrators to establish and maintain site accessibility. With accessibility directly incorporated into Contribute, website administrators can now specify accessibility settings. Once those settings have been activated, website content contributors must provide text descriptions for images and identify data-table headings. In addition, as a website administrator you can also specify whether to use HTML or CSS for text formatting, making it easier for content contributors who don't have any advanced technical knowledge to meet rigorous standards, such as the Canadian Common Look and Feel Standards.
The following sections explain how to build and maintain an accessible site using Contribute 6.5 and are intended for website administrator use.
Contribute supports templates to meet accessibility standards. Templates can be created in Adobe Dreamweaver® software and used as the basis for creating and editing pages in Dreamweaver. The first step in creating an accessible website using Contribute is to make sure the templates themselves are accessible.
After you have set up a site, you can modify its accessibility options. To begin, select Administer Websites from the Edit menu, and then click the name of your site.
Figure 1. Setting administration options in Contribute
After you have entered the site password, the Administer Website dialog box appears. Select the user permission group or other appropriate group for your site. Click the Edit Role Settings button.
Figure 2. Administer Website dialog box
The Permission Group dialog box will appear. On the left side of the dialog box, select the Editing category. Make sure you also select the Require ALT Text for Images box listed under the Editing category.
Figure 3. Permission Group dialog box
Selecting the Require ALT Text for Images box activates a prompting system for content contributors that requires them to enter important accessibility information when they insert images and tables on a page. The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) require alternate text descriptions for images as well as markup identifying table headers. Content contributors often either forget to add these elements or simply don't know how to do it. Contribute makes adding this information easy while helping website administrators maintain overall site accessibility.
A second set of important accessibility options is listed in the Styles and Fonts category. Contribute provides you with the option of formatting text using HTML or cascading style sheets (CSS) and also enables you to select the type units used to modify sizes on the page.
Figure 4. Formatting text using HTML or CSS
This feature is especially useful in helping sites meet W3C Priority 2 checkpoints where sites must use CSS to format text and use relative units for text sizes. For example, in Contribute, use 'em' or percentage lengths rather than pixels or points, which are absolute units. Sites using CSS allow visitors to view content in style sheets that have been tailored to meet their specific needs. A site built using relative sizes in CSS also allows site visitors with low or impaired vision to easily increase and decrease font sizes within the browser. Content contributors won't even notice when these options are enabled, since the modification is made in the underlying HTML.
Once site accessibility preferences have been set, Contribute asks content contributors to provide a text description for any images that are added to a page. These prompts help ensure that both designers and content contributors don't forget to include text descriptions. With this kind of automatic setting, you can rest assured that site accessibility will remain intact.
Figure 5. Adding image descriptions using ALT Text
When a data table is added to a page, Contribute prompts the author for information describing the table structure. The author must then identify whether a table has a row of headers, a column of headers, both row and column headers, or no headers at all. Header identification helps make tables easier to read for people using screen readers and is also required by nearly every accessibility policy in the world. Header identification typically requires hand-coding from the author. Contribute makes creating accessible tables much easier.
Figure 6. Adding accessible tables
Contribute 6.5 has been enhanced to provide industry-leading support for CSS. When a site must meet W3C Priority 2 checkpoints, CSS should be used to format text. Contribute includes options that make this process transparent for content contributors. When an author wants to modify the page font, Contribute generates the necessary CSS.
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If you have questions or comments or want to get involved with Adobe’s accessibility efforts, contact us. We welcome your feedback.