I made some small, but significant steps towards meeting all my desired accessibility requirements for Pencilneck.net last night. All globally-accessible links now have ‘rel’ attributes where appropriate and all of them have ‘accesskey’ attributes, to speed navigation via mouse-alternates. I admit to some confusion over the ‘rel’ attribute. I’ve seen it used, been told roughly what to do, but I still don’t really know why I’m doing it — what does it do for users to know this about a link? I also added a browser-upgrade page for those browsers that will through a hissy fit. I also downloaded a nifty little favelet to allow me to view a site in greyscale, to check color-blindness usability. I’m happy to report that Pencineck.net looks just fine in greyscale.
Still left to do: Generating a print stylesheet, re-jigging the structure a little bit so that it is more usable without a stylesheet, deciding on and implementing a tabindex hierarchy for at least the global elements and adding accesskey information to the sub-navigational pages. Once these are done, I’ll have satisfied (I think) both the Section 508 and the WAC guidelines for accessibility, which’ll make me happy.
Hopefully, and it’s starting to come, adding all of these features will be second nature, much like adding valid ‘alt’ and ‘title’ attributes has become, but until they are all second-nature, this sort of post-launch editing will remain a chore, I’m sure. It generally takes 3-4 projects for something to become second-nature for me, development-wise, and this was project #3 with all of these. Next site built will hopefully be completely accessible at launch. As a side note, I’m very proud to say the site looks quite good in Lynx.