Accessible News Slider

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I’m sorry, but the original Accessible News Slider plugin is no longer maintained. At the time that I created the plugin I had no idea it would become such a success, and I’ve considered updating it for newer versions of jQuery. However, I now realize that the functionality it provides can be implemented by any client-side developer with little experience in meeting WCAG 1.0 requirements. All it takes is a little research and some moderate effort.

To assist with the endeavor (should you choose to attempt an implementation) I am providing a list of considerations for review. Admittedly, it has been some time since I’ve revisited this, and the WCAG 2.0 requirements may supercede some of what appears here.

Users with Color Vision Deficiency, or Color Blindness

The plugin does not use color as a primary indicator of a change in state for the slider. Instead, the “previous” and “next” arrows are either visible or hidden, depending on the location of the news slider. There is also an indicator that communicates the total number of news stories in the slider.

Users with Limited or Poor Vision, but Who Do Not Use a Screen Reader

If the user chooses to resize the text via the browser file menu, the slider will flex vertically to accommodate the larger text, and still function. This is primarily a function of the CSS, and it is suggested you maintain a variable font size on your site in order to take advantage of this capability.

Users That Are Legally Blind, and Who Browse Web Pages with a Screen Reader

Since screen readers actually read through the code, it is important that the XHTML be formatted free of confusion. The appropriate skip links and title tags have been included for navigation and messaging. The important thing to remember is that screen readers like JAWS ignore elements with the display property set to “none”, or with the visibility property set to “hidden”. This helps significantly in managing the presentation to several categories of disabled users.

Users That Browse with the Keyboard and an Adaptive Device Such as a Mouth Stick

When developing a Web component to be accessible, this is the most difficult group of disabled users to accommodate. If you have ever tried to browse by tabbing through a Web page, it can be frustrating. Although the core functionality of the news slider is partially accessible with a keyboard, the “View All” link was added as a catch-all mechanism.

Users Who Have Turned off JavaScript or CSS

The key was to make sure that not only were all the news stories readable with JavaScript or CSS turned off, but that the appropriate messaging was displayed to the user to inform them of the implications. Although not a category that I think fits explicitly under accessibility, it is a component of the WCAG 1.0 checkpoints, and strides were taken to make sure the plugin met these requirements.