Checkpoint 602.2: Accessibility and Compatibility Features

Documentation lists and explains accessibility and compatibility features, including keyboard access.

Rationale

People with disabilities cannot effectively use the software if they are not provided information on how to use accessibility features. This is particularly important for keyboard access. Because most products focus on navigation with the mouse, it is not always clear how to use the product with the keyboard. All keyboard navigation which does not follow established system conventions must be documented.

Development Techniques

Review the General techniques as well as other tabs applicable to your technology.  Prioritize the use of technology-specific techniques, and implement the General techniques as needed. You are always required to find, understand and implement accessible code techniques to meet the checkpoint. The documented techniques and supplements are not exhaustive; they illustrate acceptable ways to achieve the spirit of the checkpoint. If numbered, techniques are in order of preference, with recommended techniques listed first. Where used, IBM information that complements the WCAG techniques is indicated as supplemental.

General techniques

Items in this section represent techniques deemed sufficient to address particular situations.

Situation A: If stand-alone documentation is provided for the application

Situation B: If documentation is incorporated into the application interface

Situation C: If an application is or contains authoring tools

Ensuring that documentation promotes the production of accessible content using any of the following ATAG techniques:

General supplements

Providing a section where all accessibility features are documented

This includes documenting unique user preferences which can be set to enhance accessibility. The online help documentation in Lotus Notes is a good example of this technique.

If the application has a help menu, consider including a keyword search and help topic item for accessibility as well as a "Keys Help" item in the Help menu to provide quick access to the keyboard accessibility information.

Note:  See the IBM Accessibility Center approved template for DITA (internal IBM link).

Providing a section where unique keyboard accessibility features are documented

Non-standard keys must be documented. This includes shortcut keys which are unique to an application or which are the only means of accessing content. The keyboard accessibility information could also be included as part of the general accessibility section.

Note: If the application uses standard system or user agent (browser) keyboard commands for navigation, they do not have to be documented. Standard keyboard navigation includes:

  • cursor keys (to move up, down, left and right)
  • tab and shift-tab (to cycle through fields)
  • enter or spacebar (to select or activate)

Ensuring information conveyed by context-sensitive help is available to all users

Where documentation is made available as context-sensitive help (such as pop-up instructions), the existence of context-sensitive help should be obvious to users and they should be able to obtain it when they require it, including by keyboard. Verify that instructions for performing the actions using the keyboard are available in addition to instructions for using the mouse.

Web (HTML, ARIA, CSS) techniques

There are no specific Web techniques for this checkpoint. Refer to the General techniques section.

Mobile Native (iOS) techniques

There are no specific Mobile Native iOS techniques for this checkpoint. Refer to the General and Web  techniques sections.

Eclipse techniques

In addition to the General techniques, any item in this section represents a technique deemed sufficient.

Providing a section where unique keyboard accessibility features are documented

When the software provides instructions for completing tasks using the mouse, include the instructions for doing those tasks using the keyboard if the keyboard instructions are unique. For example, to create a new memo in Lotus Notes, someone using the mouse opens the mail and clicks the "New Memo" button. These instructions are not sufficient for a keyboard user since the "new memo" button cannot be accessed in a standard method. The equivalent keyboard command is Alt + number where number is the number displayed for the "new memo" action. Both must be documented since there is a unique method to create a new mail memo with the keyboard.

Consider including a keyword search and help topic item for accessibility.

Consider documenting shortcut keys in the software by adding the information next to the command in the pull-down menu. For example, to document the shortcut key for Print, add Ctrl+P next to the Print command in the File pull-down menu.

Note: Accelerator keys or mnemonics refer to the underlined characters in menus and dialogs such as F for File. These keys are "self-documenting" in the menus. No additional documentation of the feature is required.

Windows-based (MSAA+IA2) techniques

In addition to the General techniques, any item in this section represents a technique deemed sufficient.

Providing a section where unique keyboard accessibility features are documented

When the software provides instructions for completing tasks using the mouse, include the instructions for doing those tasks using the keyboard if the keyboard instructions are unique. For example, to create a new memo in Lotus Notes, someone using the mouse opens the mail and clicks the "New Memo" button. These instructions are not sufficient for a keyboard user since the "new memo" button cannot be accessed in a standard method. The equivalent keyboard command is Alt + number where number is the number displayed for the "new memo" action. Both must be documented since there is a unique method to create a new mail memo with the keyboard.

Consider including a keyword search and help topic item for accessibility.

Consider documenting shortcut keys in the software by adding the information next to the command in the pull-down menu. For example, to document the shortcut key for Print, add Ctrl+P next to the Print command in the File pull-down menu.

Note: Accelerator keys or mnemonics refer to the underlined characters in menus and dialogs such as F for File. These keys are "self-documenting" in the menus. No additional documentation of the feature is required.


Most links in this checklist reside outside ibm.com at the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0. W3C Recommendation 11 December 2008: http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG20/

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