Aiming to Improve the Web Accessibility Standards of the Philippines

As an obsesser of accessibility, I am happy that our country has its own web accessibility standards. And we have the good people in the Philippine Web Accessibility Group to thank for this.

I’ve been reading about the standards for quite some time now, and a few ideas recently came to my mind. Using my notes from previous accessibility evaluations, I have come up with a few points to make the standards more comprehensive.

In this post, I’ll talk about the web standards of the Philippines and the additions I’m trying to put forward.

The Web Design Accessibility Recommendation Checkpoints

These are the web accessibility standards of the Philippines. The Web Design Accessibility Recommendation (WDAR) Checkpoints consist of guidelines which Filipino web developers should follow to make their websites accessible to persons with disabilities.

The WDAR Checkpoints have been produced as part of the Web Accessibility Initiative of the Philippines through the Philippine Web Accessibility Group. The bases of this document came from discussions, meetings, and existing checkpoints of concerned groups and agencies in the country.

You can read the full text of the WDAR Checkpoints in the Philippine Web Accessibility Group’s website. I kindly recommend that you read the checkpoints first, if you haven’t done so, before reading the rest of this post.

Quite recently, the WDAR Checkpoints have been included in the Accessible Website Design Guidelines (Joint Circular No. 1) set forth by the National Council on Disability Affairs. This makes the WDAR Checkpoints a part of the disability laws of the country.

Proposed Additions to the WDAR Checkpoints

Although the WDAR Checkpoints cover a wide set of issues, I believe that we in the Philippine Web Accessibility Group should add two important points in the document.

Make all functions and Controls Accessible Via the Keyboard

This is the first point I wish to add to the checkpoints. I believe that it is important for web developers to ensure that all functions and controls in their web pages can be accessed and activated via the keyboard. Furthermore, web developers should avoid creating functions and controls that can be accessed only via the mouse.

This guideline will benefit persons who cannot use the mouse. These include persons who are blind, persons with motor impairments who cannot use the mouse, and individuals who simply prefer using the keyboard.

Use Headings in All Pages and Follow the Correct Heading Hierarchy

This is the second item I wish to add to the checkpoints. Headings make it easier for persons with disabilities, especially those who use assistive software, to navigate through a page’s content. Through headings, users can skip through blocks of content and find the information they need.

Web developers should use headings in all their pages. They should use the correct heading tags and avoid using text with bolded format to make the text look like headings.

Also, the correct hierarchy of headings should be followed. Here is an example. Let’s say you have a heading level 1 for your page’s main title. The heading under the heading level 1 should be level 2. Similarly, the heading under the heading level 2 should be level 3. This improves the clarity of the relationships between the blocks of content in the page.

Final Thoughts from the Accessibility Ally

I believe the two points above are relatively easy to implement. They are even easier to carry out compared to other items in the checkpoints. More importantly, the proposed items can help web developers make their websites more accessible to persons with disabilities.

I have written to the Philippine Web Accessibility Group via their email list, and I’m kindly waiting for a response. I honestly am not aware of the formal procedures needed in adding these points to the WDAR Checkpoints. Nevertheless, I am ready and willing to help in the tasks that need to be done so that we could add the points I’m advocating.

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3 Responses to “Aiming to Improve the Web Accessibility Standards of the Philippines”

  1. Jojo Esposa Jr. Says:

    Great addition Julius! See you tomorrow! 🙂

  2. jouielovesyou Says:

    This is a very nice article. It’ll surely help. Thanks.

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