Membership Tool design meeting

Colin Clark colin.clark at
Fri Nov 30 17:15:26 UTC 2007


Adam Marshall wrote:
> .... and ensure everything works when JavaScript has been disabled?

Good point. While I think graceful degradation is a very useful 
technique for backwards compatibility, the argument about turning off 
JavaScript for accessibility reasons is dated and inaccurate at this point.

WCAG 1.0 was written back in the late '90s, when certain screen readers 
had trouble with certain types of scripts. For years now, this 
incompatibility has been resolved.

If done right, and carefully marked up with additional semantics such as 
those in the Accessible Rich Internet Applications spec, I think DHTML 
will make Web applications more accessible than ever. We have to be very 
careful to think of keyboard accessibility, flexible layouts, high 
contrast styles, and live regions. But it's very possible to make fully 
accessible JavaScript user interfaces. In fact Fluid is specifically 
pursuing this approach, building components and a framework that make it 
easier to build accessible DHTML.

We shouldn't let WCAG 1.0's dated requirements stop us from using 
JavaScript. We just have to do it right. I've written a checklist for 
developers, providing an overview of DHTML techniques:


Colin Clark
Technical Lead, Fluid Project
Adaptive Technology Resource Centre, University of Toronto

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