Accessibility Statement

Author and Page information

  • by Anup Shah
  • This Page Last Updated Sunday, February 04, 2007

Global Issues is committed to ensuring this web site is accessible to as many people as possible.

At the end of December 2003, this site underwent a complete redesign to take advantage of “web standards” and accessibility.

The site will hopefully accommodate your needs (resize text, change some fonts, print more information, etc). If you have any questions or comments about this statement, about the accessibility of this site, or the content, please contact me. I am keen to try and improve things.

Read on for more details of features available.

Visual Design And Personalizing your Experience

Resize text

You can resize the text on this web site to suit your preference using the “text size” option of your browser. As a quick tip (may not always work):

  • On most modern browsers, if you are using a mouse with a wheel, you can press ctrl on your keyboard while you scroll with the mouse wheel, up and down.
  • On modern browsers you can sometimes use ctrl+ or ctrl- for the same effect
  • Mac users can try the Command key instead of ctrl.
  • In Microsoft’s Internet Explorer (the big blue “e” icon on most computer systems) you can go to the View menu and select Text Size.

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Getting to the main sections of the site easily

All pages provide the following:

  1. A link to the About this Web Site section which provides more information about the purpose of this site.
  2. A link back to this web site’s home page.
  3. A search box to search for information on the site. (Note search results are provide by Google, so the accessibility of those pages are beyond my control at this time.)

Most pages have a signpost trail at the top (some call this bread crumb). This may help provide context especially if coming to a page from another site or search engine. Each link in the sign post will take you up one level to a broader selection of the site’s articles.

All pages have a relational link for home, search, and the site map for this web site to aid navigation in text-only browsers. Where pages have them, links to the next and previous articles in the same topic category are also available. Users of modern web browsers (see below for download links) such as Mozilla Firefox and Opera can also take advantage of these links.

In Opera, for example,

  • Ctrl-Shift-Space will take you to the home page
  • Ctrl-Shift-F will take you to this site’s search page
  • Ctrl-Shift-Left arrow key will take you to the previous page in this section (if there is one)
  • Ctrl-Shift-Right arrow key will take you to next page in this section (if there is one)
  • The Navigation toolbar will also show you these options.

Scan pages via the headings

If you are using assistive technology such as a screen reader, I have tried to make proper use of headings in the document, so you can use your assistive technology’s capability to navigate the web page using headings. You can also cycle through headings in the Opera web browser using the following keystrokes:

  • s will cycle you forwards through the headings
  • w will cycle you backwards through the headings

In Firefox, there are a number of extensions that people contribute to the browser. For example, check out the accessibility tool bar extension from the University of Illinois.

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  1. Many links have title attributes (or tooltips) which describe the link in greater detail. You can discover these by resting your mouse on a link to see if a tooltip appears after a couple of seconds.
  2. Where the text of the link already fully describes the target (such as the headline of an article, the links in the navigation, the links in the contents box on most pages, etc) there won’t be a title attribute.
  3. If you cannot use a mouse, the printer-friendly version of each page (which is provided as a link at the beginning of each article) replaces links with numbers. Those numbered items are then listed at the end of the document like endnotes. These endnotes, as well as providing the link, also present the text that is used in the tooltip.
  4. For more recently updated pages link text can also be scanned. So, for example, if you are using assistive technologies such as screen readers that can read out a list of links to you, then hopefully this will help.
  5. On some pages, where links to external web sites and articles are provided, an attempt has been made to provide alternative links in case those fail (though all such links and content are beyond my control). In some of these pages, this is available in a number of ways:
    • If you are using a modern browser with JavaScript enabled, then selecting a link may show a box listing the link you are about to visit, and a selection of additional links in case the primary link fails for whatever reason.
    • If you do not have JavaScript enabled on your browser, or your browser is old, then you can still access the primary link. Towards the end of the document, alternatives are listed.
    • Printer-friendly versions of more recently updated pages list all links at the bottom of the page, together with these alternatives, and, where provided, the tooltip descriptions are written out as well.

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Using forms more easily

Wherever else there are forms to fill in (e.g. the contact page, email update subscription page, etc) you can click on each label next to the text box, drop down list or checkbox, to also access the associated text box, etc.

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Accesskeys or Keyboard Shortcuts—I do not use them

Accesskeys are meant to provide a quick and efficient means of navigating a site using the keyboard. Most applications on your computer will typically support accesskeys, including most modern web browsers.

While its a good idea and well established for desktop applications (and web browsers themselves), accesskeys for web pages currently cause a few problems:

  • Inconsistency in browser support
  • Accesskeys defined for web pages conflicting with numerous pre-defined system or browser accesskeys, risking more confusion than benefit
  • Not well-established on how to inform the user about accesskeys

As a result, until browser support is improved, this site does not generally support accesskeys. Some pages may provide accesskey support, but this is experimental for now.

For more information about problems with accesskeys, please see the following as examples:

  1. Using Accesskeys - Is it worth it? by John Foliot, Web Accessibility Testing and Services, May 8, 2003
  2. I do not use Accesskeys by Dave Shea, a prominent person in the area of standards and accessible-based web development, December 29, 2003

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Standards Compliant

I have attempted to write the site’s pages to adhere to standards and recommendations specified on how to write web pages. While most of the details are quite technical in nature, these standards are built with accessibility features in mind, if used properly. (Please see about this site’s redesign in 2003 which explains this move to standards in more depth if you are interested.)

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Improvements still to be made

As noted earlier, the site redesign moved towards the direction of standards and accessibility. However, with some 700 pages, and only working on this site in spare time only, not all pages will have been fully updated. Nonetheless, efforts are continually being made to improve accessibility where I can.

In general, the more recently updated pages (since 2004) are hopefully more usable.

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What are modern browsers?

Modern web browser provide more facilities and capabilities for standards compliancy and accessibility.

An example of modern browsers (though not complete) include the following:

  • For all the major computer operating system platforms
  • Specifically for a PC (Windows)
    • Microsoft Internet Explorer 7 or higher [Note, the version of Internet Explorer shipped with Windows XP browser is version 6. While not a “modern” browser, most of the above-mentioned features should work. Through Windows Update you can get the latest version of Microsoft’s Internet browser.]
  • Specifically for a Mac (e.g. OS X)
  • Specifically for Linux

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More Information

Some information on this page slightly overlaps with the following pages on this site:

  • About the web site redesign, which describes some aspects of web standards, accessibility and their benefits (as well as a bit more about the economic wastage alluded to further above)

As time allows, I will try to regroup these pages to avoid any unnecessary overlap.

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Acknowledgements

This accessibility statement is based on information from Juicy Studio’s writing accessibility statement suggestions and Dive Into Accessibility’s accessibility statement, who provide further information on accessibility standards, and assistive technologies. These two are also prominent in the field of web site accessibility and web standards if you wish to learn more.

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Read more about this site:

Author and Page Information

  • by Anup Shah
  • Created: Thursday, June 24, 2004
  • Last Updated: Sunday, February 04, 2007

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