Help on using this blog...
Whether you are using assistive technology or simply new to the world of blogs, you may have some questions about using this blog. We'll try to provide some useful information on this page to help you get started. If you still have problems, however, feel free to contact us using the email address or phone number at the end of this content.
Overview and General Accessibility
A blog (an abbreviated form of the phrase "web log") is a commonly used web format for posting and discussing items of interest to the blog authors and readership. Blogs can (and should!) be configured so they are accessible to people using assistive technologies like screen readers. In our efforts to ensure accessibility in our blogs, we researched the available blog hosting services for accessibility, and read the available literature on this topic. Before launching this blog we also did our own accessibility testing as well as asking a number of screen reader users to try out our blog before going public so we could address any issues up front. Although there may be some minor issues due to third-party software that we cannot alter, we tried our best to build a blog that would be accessible to all our readers.
Navigating to blog posts
When you first land on our blog you get the brief welcome page that begins, "Making math accessible to all people..." As you tab through the page you are taken to our right-hand navigation bar with the topmost heading of "Recent Posts." This gives you a list of recently posted article links, such as "MathPlayer 2.1 is released." Clicking on one of these links takes you to that article where you can read it and post a reply comment to be published in the blog, if you like.
Reading articles and posting a comment to the blog
Once you identify a blog post you want to read and click on it, you are taken to the page for this post. The content of the blog post will begin with a few links. The first link will be to the previous post (unless the one you are reading is the first post). The next link will take you to the main blog index where all blog posts will appear in reverse chronological order. The next link in the top series will take you to the next post in the series.
Below this introductory set of links will appear the main body of the post. Each blog post will close with a signature of the time and date posted and a one or more category links, which if clicked upon will take you to an index of posts in the same category. After that follows a set of persistent links, which includes:
- Permalink: This is the definitive URL of an entry on the blog. This link is useful for pointing others to it in an email, for example
- Digg This: Digg is a social networking site for people to discover and share content from anywhere on the web. We have no idea if this service is accessible, but if you are interested try clicking on the link.
- Save to del.icio.us: del.icio.us is another social networking website, primarily to store bookmarks online. We have no idea if this service is accessible, but if you are interested try clicking on the link.
Below the set of links just described is the Comments section. If anyone has posted a comment to the blog, these comments will appear here with the most recent comment on top. Below the posted comments section is a form for posting your own comments to the blog in response to the blog post, or sometimes in response to another commenter. The opening line states, "If you have a TypeKey or TypePad account, please Sign In." There's no need to follow this link, unless you already have such an account or want to get one. You don't have to have an account to use this blog, however, and be forewarned that TypeKey's free account sign-up page includes an inaccessible CAPTCHA. We're not happy about that and have informed the TypeKey management, but they responded that anyone who cannot get through the CAPTCHA can use the customer service link on the sign-up site to inform them, and then they will handle the sign-up process manually. Although we don't think that's the best way to handle things, it won't be an issue to our blog users because you don't have to have a TypePad or TypeKey account...so enough said.
To post your comment, begin by typing your name into the "Name:" input box. The next input box is also required, which is where you type in your email address. Your email address will not be displayed in your comment, nor is it used to subscribe you to anything. It simply authenticates your comment as coming from a human being. The next input box is labeled as "URL:". This field is ignored, so don't bother. If you want people to see a URL with your comments, please put that into the main body of your comments. Next is a checkbox labeled, "Remember personal info?" Checking this will set a cookie to remember your name and email and insert this information automatically when you return. Finally, you will come to the "Comments:" input box. This is where you will type in your comments. Once you are done with your comments, you can tab down to the next button marked "preview"--which if clicked will take you to a page containing just your comments. There's not a whole lot of benefit to doing a preview, but of course feel free to do so. Once you are ready to submit your comments, tab beyond the preview button (which comes first) and then click the "submit" button. This will publish your comments and refresh your browser to show the new page which now contains your comments under our article. Your comments will now be on top of the list of comments until another person submits her/his comments.
Getting posts delivered by email
If you tab beyond that last article link in the "Recent Posts" list, you will find yourself in a text input box. If you back up into the text immediately preceding the input box you will hear the phrase "Enter your email address." This is a function that will allow you to be notified when a new article is posted on the blog, and the text of the new blog entry will be included in the email, along with a link to the new post. If you want to then comment on the post, or read other people's comments, then you will want to click on the link in the email to go directly to the blog. If this is an option that sounds appealing to you (and we would recommend doing this so you won't miss out on a timely topic) then insert your email into the textbox and either hit the enter key or click on the following "subscribe" button. Feedburner is a third-party site, so when you click on the submit button it will open a new browser window. The new window asks for you to validate your request with the use of a CAPTCHA, which is commonly a graphical image of a series of numbers or letters that users are supposed to read visually and entered into an input box. FeedBurner uses a more accessible form of CAPTCHA, however, which includes an audio output of the series you need to type into the input box. If you click on the link labeled "Listen and type the numbers you hear" (its actually a hot-linked graphic of the standard wheelchair accessibility symbol) you will hear the audio. Type in the series you hear and hit the enter key. If you do this successfully, FeedBurner will generate an email and send it to your inbox. Once you get the email you have to click on a link in the email body as the final confirmation step. If you are a braille-only user, or otherwise find the audio CAPTCHA process difficult to use, just send an email to the person listed at the bottom of this page and we'll take care of this problem.
Using news feed readers
You'll notice a link labeled, "Subscribe to this blog's feed." Some people use RSS or RDF readers which aggregate news from various websites. If you use such a service you will know what to do with this link. If you are interested in knowing more about this, check out the WebAIM webpage on RSS / News Feeds.
As you tab down the list of links you'll find a number of pretty much self-explanatory links to the Design Science website. There are also category groupings of blog posts by date (the Archive heading) as well as by category. You will also find links to our general news blog, accessibility events where we'll be presenting and/or exhibiting, and finally a list of a few favorite sites for you to check out. Finally, the bottom of the page includes a search input box for searching the blog. Directly below that is an associated hot-linked graphic that takes you to the third-party search widget's website, which of course you can ignore.
Questions or problems?
If you encounter any accessibility issues with this blog or have any other problems with using this site, please feel free to contact Steve Noble, Director of Accessibility Policy for Design Science, by email at email@example.com.