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Home > Archive > Developers/reference > How Spicynodes works > Maintaining Accessibility

Maintaining accessibility

Accessibility is a priority for SpicyNodes and IDEA. Whether it’s implemented as a navigational tool or as an information portal, SpicyNodes has an interface that everyone from schoolkids to grandmothers finds intuitive and easy to use. SpicyNodes fully complies with accessibility laws and regulations, making it a practical and inclusive technology.

The path toward inclusiveness

Web users run the spectrum of socioeconomic backgrounds, educational achievements, and physical abilities. Although SpicyNodes is a visual tool, optimized for interaction with a cursor or touch screen, nodes are accessible to users who do not use a pointing device, or use a screen reader.

For users who have difficulty seeing, most operating systems have options to enhance the color contrast. Using the ZOOM option for SpicyNodes, users can show the nodes in an enlarged format. Users with screen-readers can switch to a text-only mode without interactivity. Nodes always contain accessible content using the built-in text equivalent features of Adobe Flash, which exposes content to screen readers.

For users who have difficultly controlling a computer, the interface can be controlled by cursor or mouse, and most functions require only a single mouse click or key press. There is always a keyboard navigation option for moving from node to node, or back home.

SpicyNodes complies with W3C guidelines

Around the globe, there are a wide variety of laws, regulations, and guidelines that govern web site accessibility issues. SpicyNodes complies with the widely accepted World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Priority Level One guidelines for accessibility, (W3C, 1999) which are:

  1. Provide equivalent alternatives to auditory and visual content.
  1. Don’t rely on color alone. (Ensure that graphics and text are understandable when viewed without color.)
  1. Use markup and style sheets and do so properly. (This allows specialized software to understand and convert the organization of the page.)
  1. Clarify natural language usage. (This allows specialized software to identify the language and improves readability for those people with learning disabilities, with cognitive disabilities, or who are deaf.)
  1. Create tables that transform gracefully. (This allows those who use auditory devices or small displays to access pages.)
  1. Ensure that pages featuring new technologies transform gracefully. (This allows pages to be read by older web browsers.)
  1. Ensure user control of time-sensitive content changes. (This allows moving, blinking, scrolling, or auto-updating objects or pages to be paused or stopped.)
  1. Ensure direct accessibility of embedded user interfaces. (This allows for device-independent access to functionality, keyboard operability, self-voicing, and so forth.)
  1. Design for device independence. (This enables activation of page elements via a variety of input devices.)
  1. Use interim solutions. (This allows assistive technologies and older browsers to operate effectively.)
  1. Use W3C technologies and guidelines.
  1. Provide context and orientation information. (Grouping elements and providing contextual relationships between elements are helpful for all users, particularly those with cognitive disabilities.)
  1. Provide clear navigation mechanisms. (Navigation bars and sitemaps help people find what they are looking for.)
  1. Ensure that documents are clear and simple. (Using clear and simple language makes documents more easily understood.)

Future plans

In the future, we may add a non-Flash-based accessibility option — a text-based browsing option. If you think this would be helpful, or have other accessibility ideas, please send us a note. Since SpicyNodes data is stored in simple XML, it can also be parsed and displayed in display technologies of the future.

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