Balisage Paper: Improving Accessibility of an XML-based Conference Proceedings Web Site
Liam Quin runs an information design and XML consulting company, Delightful Computing, and previously was XML Activity Lead at the World Wide Web Consortium; before that he was involved in the creation of XML itself and in SGML, most notably at SoftQuad Inc. in Toronto. His backgrounds are in digital typography and computer science.
© Copyright Liam Quin 2020
This paper describes ongoing work to make the Web site containing the proceedings for the Balisage conference be more accessible. Like many older Web sites, the site may have followed best practices when the framework was built, but times and the Web have moved on. The site is built from static XML documents using XSLT, which was modified as needed.
Difficulties encountered included those common to updating any project’s production code that has been in use for a long time and has undergone periodic tweaks and adjustments; changes specific to accessibility and to the XML input are highlighted. The work took only a few days, albeit spread over several months, accompanied by considerably more research and testing, also described in the paper.
Limitations of the work, especially including dealing with author-submitted content, are also described.