Accessibility features of this website
How we try to make access to this website easier
“Accessibility” – what it means
Accessibility, with websites, refers the
degree to which a site is usable by a wide range of people – the degree of
ease with which various people, including those with visual and mobility
constraints, can get to the information a website contains.  The Internet in general is accessible to the degree that
people with disabilities can perceive, understand, navigate, and interact
with its contents, as well as the degree that they can contribute to the Web.
Good web accessibility “…also benefits others, including older people with
changing abilities due to aging.” 
NOTE that the World Wide Web Consortium
has articulated its own distinct standards for accessibility, and a number of
individual federal governments have specified their own as well.
About access keys
Access keys (also called “keyboard shortcuts”) are key combinations, set
up by the web page designer, which may be used to move the mouse cursor from
one page element to another. They can be useful for all of us, as a fast way
of navigating a website.
Please note: Links with access keys have a letter
underlined. This indicates the access for that link.
Access keys active at this web site
As a general rule, Microsoft Windows Operating Systems employ the
Alt + access key combination, while Macintosh Operating
Systems employ the Ctrl + access key combination. However,
within individual browsers, keypress sequences for activation of access keys
do vary considerably. A summary of most-current browsers is given below.
One also needs to understand that some browsers move focus to a link and
others will activate that same link. You will simply need to learn the behavior of your browser.
The Access Keys active at this website are easy to locate – they
are all underlined in one of three menus – the Main
menu at the top of every page, the Site Utility Links menu above the Page
Contents on most pages, or the Footer menu at the
Browsers & access keys
How one activates an access key varies from browser to browser (the
following description applies to the most-current versions of each
- In the Mozilla Firefox browser, press
[Alt] + [Shift} + [access key] to shift focus to the
target link, which is then automatically activated.
- In the Opera browser, press [Shift] +
[Esc] to display a little access key menu. Press a number key
listed on the menu to activate the target link.
- In Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser,
press [Alt] + [access key] to shift focus to the target
link, then [Enter] to activate the link.
The Opera browser is unique in its ability to display a menu of the access keys available on a given page. With the other browsers one has to know them in advance, so they are detailed above.
At the time of this writing none of the major browsers document how they behave relative to access keys. None of their “Help” files mention this feature, although they all have it.
Vision-impaired website visitors are likely to be using some kind of
software screen reader. It is convenient for them to be able to skip past
certain sections of a web page to immediately access its most important
parts. “Skip links” make this possible.
Page top links. The very top of every page contains
visible skip links targeting…
- the page utility links (found immediately above the page contents
- the page contents listing ("On this page…),
- the page title, and
- the page search tool
Website text logo
Page identity – for screen readers
To verify the identity of each page in the site to those using screen
readers, the site title is placed as the first text element of every page’s
HTML. (This element is not visible on the screen, however.)
Visible text logo – links to homepage
For all visitors, a click on the visible site text logo (“Tom Cloyd MS
MS”) takes the visitor to the site home page.
1. Web accessibility. (2007, August 16). In
Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 23:30 (Pacific Daylight
Time), August 24, 2007, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Web_accessibility&oldid=302839684
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