Where on the page do you put your accessibility help link?
36 Comments

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  • jigolo - 11 years ago

    Great minds must think alike, because I was just thinking about this with my own poll.

    http://idea15.wordpress.com/2009/03/31/accessibility-poll/

  • ankara koltuk yıkama - 11 years ago

    What accessibility help link?

  • ankara halı yıkama - 11 years ago

    Definitely at the top. It's not just a 'help' page (and I agree with Jon G that people are more likely to look for a Help section for that, although you could then link across). It's also evidence of the consideration you have put into making your site inclusive.

  • PDF Gator - 11 years ago

    I don't believe that it's really necessary for my website.

  • PDF Bat - 11 years ago

    What accessibility help link?

  • Heather - 12 years ago

    Great minds must think alike, because I was just thinking about this with my own poll.

    http://idea15.wordpress.com/2009/03/31/accessibility-poll/

  • Gary Miller - 12 years ago

    Always at the top, right next to the 'Skip to main content' link.

  • James Coltham - 12 years ago

    Definitely at the top. It's not just a 'help' page (and I agree with Jon G that people are more likely to look for a Help section for that, although you could then link across). It's also evidence of the consideration you have put into making your site inclusive. Putting it at the top makes it easy to get to, and also shows that accessibility is a top priority for you. Don't forget that the accessibility page is also where you'll probably want to put your conformance claim for WCAG 2.0.

  • Jon Gibbins - 12 years ago

    Peter, I would qualify your point by adding that people who want help with a site aren't necessarily interested in your accessibility statement.

    I know that this poll is specifically asking about *accessibility* help, but in my opinion, such help should be included within a general help page or section. Someone who needs help is more likely to follow a "help" link than either an "accessibility" link or "accessibility help" link - "help" is plain English. And that should be near the top of a page if at all possible. I usually try to include "help" as part of a set of "utilities" at the top of pages (search, user profile...). Sometimes, design constraints may not allow for a help like at the top - it may not fit for one reason or another. In these cases, I'd permit the like to the help page(s) to go in the footer.

    By all means include an accessibility statement, but as part of your ancillary / about pages, for example, with your legal statements.

    Agreed that an accessibility statement (or help section) should include an accessible way for visitors contact the site owners.

  • Peter Abrahams - 12 years ago

    You need an accessiblity statement so that people know you care and have tried. It can also include some hints and tips specific to the site.
    Finally and we have not implemented this yet it should include a link to a feedback mechanism so any accessibility issues can be reported easily.

  • Jared Smith - 12 years ago

    pixeldiva, thank you for the further explanation. I absolutely agree with you. Providing an accessibility help link isn't always bad or reflective of a less than accessible site, but many sites that do provide this link are doing so to account for poor accessibility decisions.

    I would propose that a generic "help" link might be more friendly for all users and doesn't draw attention to a particular disability. You could then include more generic helpful information that all users could benefit from, rather than just "those disabled people".

    If a help link is to be included, the beginning of the page is going to be most useful.

  • wekarea - 12 years ago

    I answered the question as to where the accessibility link is on the website at the moment - not where it should ideally be...

  • Vicky - 12 years ago

    We used to keep the accessibility link hidden away at the bottom of the page, but have since moved it up top so that it's the one of the first links you arrive at when using the tab key to navigate the site. It was a no-brainer for us.

  • David Sloan - 12 years ago

    I still think that, until accessibility support in browsers becomes more visible (and support for training users in using browsers properly talks about accessibility), there's a significant - but silent - group of users out there who currently need, or will soon need, information helping them to make accessibility adjustments. Think of people whose visual capability and dexterity is declining due to the ageing process.

    It's a message we tried to get over in our review of accessibility statements a few years ago - they can be useful for people who already know they are disabled (in web accessibility terms) but are PARTICULARLY IMPORTANT for people who don't. Content providers shouldn't have to do this, but the nature of the web today is such that currently there is a choice:

    1) say nothing, and possibly help drive someone towards giving up using the web because they don't know how to compensate for their increasing impairments, or

    2) provide a short simple page of accessibility advice and a clear link to it from each other page.

    Of course - what we don't yet know (and what I think pixeldiva is trying to find out here) is how to provide that link in a way that the people who need it most will find it. 8 point, pale grey text 'accessibility' in the footer is unlikely to be the best way...

  • Paul Fraser Webb - 12 years ago

    Another problem is that sometimes if you develop a website that covers every accessability issue, the accessability can affect the fuctionality or look of the site. Developing the site to cover most (but not all) accessability issues, and then adding an accessability help link can be a comon sence way of ensuring universal accessability.

  • Ian Pouncey - 12 years ago

    Based on your story in comment 4 I would say that it is clear that as high up in the source order as possible is the correct place. To be honest it isn't something I have given a lot of thought in the past. The most common placement seems to be in the footer, and I have generally followed the herd on this one. I'll have to change my wicked ways!

  • pixeldiva - 12 years ago

    In an ideal world, I'd agree with you Jared, but unfortunately, we don't live in an ideal world.

    A couple of years ago, a major UK transport website relaunched. I'd done quite a bit of consultancy with the agency that were building it, and they took a barely usable horror of a website and made it significantly better. They didn't follow all my advice, and it wasn't 100% accessible when they relaunched, but it was still a big improvement. I felt quite good about it.

    Then I got a phone call from a colleague in another office who was absolutely LIVID that I had contributed to making this site, which he had previously considered accessible, completely inaccessible to him. After I'd picked my jaw up off the floor, I got to the root of the problem. Problem 1 - the new site had the navigation first and no skip links. Problem 2 - he didn't know that he could navigate using headings. Once he knew that he could navigate by headings, he quickly calmed down and hung up a happy chap. Had they included a) a more detailed description of what they'd changed on the site other than "we've changed the site" or b) an accessibility help page that explained what they'd done to change the site and that navigation by headings was now possible, I don't think he'd have been quite so upset.

    I wholeheartedly agree that you shouldn't *need* to look at an accessibility help page to use a website, but you can't always assume that because someone has to use access technology that they are an expert in it (or the web, for that matter). I'd much rather take the time to explain a few things than leave users to figure it out for themselves.

    That is, of course, on the assumption that they'd click on an accessibility help link, but that's a whole other conversation... :)

  • Jared Smith - 12 years ago

    Any site that needs an accessibility help page and instructions probably isn't very accessible to begin with. Accessibility should happen naturally and transparently.

  • pixeldiva - 12 years ago

    An accessibility help link usually points to a page which is intended to give information to people with disabilities about the various things that have been done to ensure accessibility of the site they are on.

    It can also be used to inform users about features they may not be aware of, such as the proper use of headings which screen reader users can use for navigation.

    Lastly, it should give the user clear contact details of someone they can contact if they are having difficulty with the site.

  • gregorvios - 12 years ago

    what is an accessibility help link?

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