Accessibility for the Dynamic Web is now possible due to new standards being developed at the W3C and being implemented in Firefox. The technology allows today's web pages to contain additional markup describing semantics. An often-cited benefit of this technology is the ability to describe scripted widgets with dynamic behaviour. However, another major benefit is to differentiate the sections of a web page, via human-readable labels or predefined semantics such as "main", "contentinfo", "navigation" and "search". Marking the sections of a web page offers dramatic improvement for users who need access to today's web with a small device or an assistive technology.
We will discuss how this additional mark-up provides benefits for the following technologies:
- Web browsers on small devices -- we will demonstrate the use of Minimo, using the markup to provide convenient access to a complex web page
- Screen readers, which allow users to choose from a list which section on a page they want to read
- Screen magnifiers, which can zoom in on the most important content of a web page as it loads
- Onscreen keyboards, which can provide users keystrokes for navigating the content by sections
- Web page simplification software, which can provide a simple view of the web page for users with varying ability to navigate or comprehend complex web pages
This wide variety of use cases shows that the simple power of semantics for web page sections generates many benefits, whether used with today's legacy content or tomorrow's more powerful markup languages.
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