The Compendium Web site conforms to W3C’s “Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0”, available at http://www.w3.org/TR/1999/WAI-WEBCONTENT-19990505, level A.
The Compendium was checked and modified in July 2001 in order to make it more accessible to people with disabilities. It should now be easier to use without a mouse, and be more compatible with screen readers and Braille output devices. The visible signs of the changes are the higher-contrast colour scheme, and the inclusion of access keys (keyboard shortcuts) for many of the navigational links. The access keys show up as bold letters in links. Most of the changes are behind the scenes, including adherence to HTML standards, use of style sheets, and the inclusion of additional table mark-up to clarify the structure.
The Compendium meets all of the applicable Priority 1 checkpoints of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines and nearly all of the applicable Priority 2 and 3 checkpoints. The exceptions are the absence of ways to skip over groups of navigational links, the absence of redundant text links for client-side image maps (the A–Z buttons on some indexes), the separation of some links only by white space (in the indexes), the use of a separate window for the Help files, and the use of Internet Explorer extensions that prevent the style sheets from validating.
The Compendium has been checked for accessibility by using version 3.2 of Bobby (formerly a free service provided by CAST to help Web page authors identify and repair significant barriers to access by individuals with disabilities) and by making the necessary additional manual checks.
The Compendium also meets nearly all of the requirements of Section 508 of the United States’ Rehabilitation Act. The exceptions are that there is no way to skip over groups of navigational links, and that the site has not been tested using assistive technology.
Access Keys in the Compendium
The access keys, which appear as bold letters in links in the Compendium, are:
Using Access Keys
Access keys were introduced with the HTML 4.0 recommendations, which include the “accesskey” attribute for links. There is no standard way of using access keys. The following table shows how they are implemented in various Web browsers and operating systems:
Under Windows, access keys are not supported by Netscape 9, Netscape 8, Netscape 4 and Opera 6.
Under Mac OS 9, access keys are not supported by Internet Explorer 4, Internet Explorer 4.5, Netscape 4, Netscape 7 and Opera 6.
Under Mac OS X 10, access keys are not supported by OmniWeb 4 and Safari 1.0.
The Firefox, Mozilla and Netscape browsers can be configured so that the Enter key has to be pressed in order to follow a link. Type “about:config” in the Address bar, press Enter, and in the list of options double-click “accessibility.accesskeycausesactivation” so that its value changes from true to false.