IDRC - Celebrating 25 Years

1993 - 2018

Continuing Our Work During COVID-19

Read the letter regarding COVID-19 by IDRC Director, Jutta Treviranus.

Jutta Treviranus and Jan Richards
ATRC, University of Toronto
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  • obtaining an overview and determining the structure of the document,
  • orienting and moving to desired sections of the document or interface, and
  • obtaining translations of graphically presented information (i.e.,animation, video, graphics).

Addressed by modifications to:

  • the access tool (i.e., screen reader, screen magnifier, Braille display),
  • the browser, viewers and plug-ins,
  • the authoring tools, (e.g., HTML, SGML, plug-in, Java, VRML authoringtools),
  • the HTML specifications, HTML extensions, Style Sheets,
  • the individual documents, and
  • the operating system.

1. Access Tools

2. Browsers

  • keyboard equivalents
  • navigating links, input fields, frames
  • supporting access related HTML elements

3. Standards

  • HTML 4.0
  • Aural Style Sheets

4. Documents

  • advocacy groups
    • webwatch
  • accessibility checkers
    • Bobby

Supports in Authoring Tools

  • reach large number of authors
  • educate and inform

Authoring support:

  • Easy to activate, so that users who are aware of the feature and accessibilityissues can easily utilize it.
  • Automatic (with an option to deactivate), so that users who are unaware oftheir mistakes can correct them before the list grows too large.
  • Helpful and non-judgmental, so that people are encouraged to do what theycan rather than take the deactivation option.
  • Implemented to provide both instance-by-instance warnings that lead into anAccessibility Checker

Barriers Addressed

  • missing alternative text for images, buttons or image links
  • use of server-side image maps without textual alternatives
  • missing alternative text descriptions for applets
  • background images
  • marquee or blinking text
  • use of inaccessible form elements
  • ambiguous link names (e.g., click here)
  • non-separated links missing descriptive text or captions for an audio fileor video file...

Optional Levels

A dialog box for access warning and access checker settings

Prompts and guidelines while authoring

An accessibility prompt for ALT-text integrated in HotMetal Pro

Accessibility Warning

A warning indicating that the document contains elements that may be inaccessible to some users

Accessibility Checker

A web page accessibility checker dialog box.Checks:

  • new documents
  • existing documents
  • imported documents

Text-only Wizard

  • parallel text only sites
  • frequently not updated
  • wizard automates creation and updating of text-only site

Exploiting Web Publishing Tools

Constraints when using access tools

  • small chunks of information,one at a time
  • visually based conventions invisible
  • slow navigation

Viewing a Document

  • sizing up a document at first glance
  • the overall sense
  • inventory of content
  • what is emphasized
  • anything of personal interest
  • organization/structure
  • where are we?
  • zero in on item of interest

Publishing/Viewing Tools

  • dealing with large documents or sites
  • intranet management

Tools include:

  • navigators or dynamic, expandable tree views of a document
  • dynamic tables of contents
  • personal document views
  • context sensitive searching
  • annotations, and
  • on-demand delivery of information.

Dynamic Tables of Contents

  • expandable tree view
  • local detail
  • choice of what will be listed
  • TOC of multiple documents
  • points of view


  • keyboard navigation
  • level information
  • get overview
  • zero in on specifics

Personal Document Views

  • different page layout (columns)
  • more or less detail
  • different emphasis

Document Annotation

  • hi-lite or mark areas of particular interest
  • add text labels where missing
  • personalized TOC

Context Specific Search Tools

  • search within documents and sites
  • results in TOCs
  • navigated using keyboard equivalents
  • dynamic TOC of areas of interest upon loading

Dynamic Information Retrieval Utilities

  • newly posted items of interest automatically delivered


  • more accessible documents through authoring tool supports
  • exploit mainstream tools for easier information retrieval and documentmanipulation