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Accessibility

Users come first. We have designed this web site primarily for communication and accessibility. To this end its focus is on simplicity and the elimination of the visual “noise” so prevalent on the World Wide Web.

Web accessibility policy

The design of this web site ensures that the content is accessible to many people with disabilities. It conforms to level Double-A of the W3C Web Accessibility Guidelines and validates against the requirements of s.508 [note 1] of the Rehabilitation Act, 1998 (USA).

In the quest for universal accessibility the use of restrictive proprietary content is avoided.

Access keys

This site can be used with or without a mouse. Keyboard shortcuts are provided that will take you to sections on the page such as main content, navigation, forms and the search box. They will also take you to commonly used pages such as the home page, the site map and the contact page.

Accessibility resources

HiSoftware.Com provides a free facility for the testing of accessibility of web sites in comparision to the W3C-WAG Guidelines and section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, 1998 (USA):

If you have a visual disability, accessing Portable Document Format (PDF) documents in the Projects section may be problematic. Adobe provides a PDF resource site designed to help people with visual disabilities work more effectively with Adobe Acrobat software and Portable Document Format files. Adobe also offer an Online Converter which translates PDF documents into HTML.

All of the content in our PDF documents is also provided in online text and illustrations.

Code validation resources

The site conforms with the World Wide Web Consortium Document Object Model and is written with structured semantic markup in eXtensible HyperText Markup Language (XHTML 1.0) with Cascading Style Sheets Level 3 (CSS 3). Care as been taken to ensure content and navigation is fully available to early generation or 'legacy' browsers.

The web site's code is validated against the World Wide Web Consortium recommendations for XHTML and CSS.

The W3C provides online and downloadable validation resources for HyperText Markup Languages and Cascading Style Sheets.

Access and the Law

The Disability Discrimination Act 1995 imposes a duty on owners of United Kingdom websites to ensure all visitors can use the website equally. This 'light' duty is widely ignored. Under the provisions of section 19 of the Act, it is unlawful for a provider of services to discriminate against a disabled person, or to discriminate in the provision of “access to and use of means of communications” or “access to and use of information services”. The Act is enforced by the Disability Rights Commission.

A United Kingdom Government website provides a guide on the Disability Discrimination Act and the associated Codes of Practice. Among online commentaries on the application of the Act to web site services and design “Web Accessibility and the DDA”, Martin Sloan, The Journal of Information, Law and Technology: 2001 (2), is perhaps the most lucid and authorative [note 2].

Pleiade Associates have endeavoured to comply will these obligations. However if you consider that you have been discriminated against in your access to this site or its contents please inform us of your complaint through our Contact page. Please use "Accessibility issue" in the 'Subject' element of the message form.

Restrictive content

Although we use a range of software in the design of web sites, in the pursuit of faster access, greater 'transparency' and universal accessibility the design of this site avoids the use of restrictive proprietary content.

Even so, we find some commercial products indispensable: for instance, Adobe Acrobat™ Portable Document Format (pdf) is used on the Projects section of this site. Where the pdf content originates from Pleiade Associates, it is also always provided in html format.

 
Note 1

Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, 1998 requires that the electronic and information technology of all United States Federal agencies is accessible to people with disabilities. The Center for Information Technology Accommodation (CITA) in the US General Services Administration's Office of Governmentwide Policy maintains a Section 508 web site. Through this Federal employees and the public can access resources for understanding and implementing the requirements of the legislation.

Although section 508 is mandatory only for US Federal agencies, and Pleiade Associates is a private company based in the United Kingdom, we have applied this constraint in the absence of any British or European equivalent.
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Note 2

Web Accessibility and the DDA. The Journal of Information, Law and Technology (JILT), 2001 (2). Sloan, Martin.
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