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Chapter 7. User Experience: Museums on t... > Text Equivalents Can Open the Doors ...

Text Equivalents Can Open the Doors of Perception

The striking visual elements contained in the Metropolitan Museum’s elegantly designed pages would not have to be eliminated to create a rich, accessible experience for the visitor who uses assistive technology. And because the sites we visited, like an increasing number of Web sites, are database-driven, many of the accessibility improvements we’ve discussed need only be designed and coded once in order to take effect across the entire site. For example, you can use CSS to position the navigation links to satisfy the expectations of sighted users. In the same process, you can make the substance of the page fully accessible to people using screen readers and related assistive devices. This means that changes need only be made once to be both accessible and easily propagated throughout the site. (See Chapter 15 for details.) This explains why it’s unnecessary to create text-only versions of image- and media-heavy sites, a point we’ll take up in detail in the next chapter.

Our goal is to create a context for guidelines and accessibility standards that we will examine in greater depth in subsequent chapters. As we discover the coding examples and techniques that solve the problems we encountered in this chapter, we hope you come to agree that good design is, indeed, accessible design.


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