Kongming’s Archives: Accessibility

Accessibility Information

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Kongming’s Archives was designed with accessibility in mind. Viewers with poor vision, colorblindness, or other difficulties should be able to access and read all presented content. Sometimes doing this requires a little knowledge about your Web browser’s features. On this page I will explain these features, what browsers provide them, how well they are implemented, and I will also provide tips on how to make the whole Internet more accessible.

Make a selection from the menu above to jump to a specific problem/solution. To get the most out of this section I suggest reading all page contents in order.

Poor Vision or High Resolution Monitors

If you have poor vision or use a resolution that makes the default theme text hard to read, you are in the right section. I will explain how you can use browser preferences and features to increase text sizes here, and I will even give you accessibility tips for other sites on the Internet.

If you are using Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.0.x or lower, first upgrade to Microsoft Internet Exploder 6.x (to avoid some CSS issues). In this browser you can make text larger or smaller than defaults would normally display (View —> Text Size —> Make Selection). If you want larger text choose “Larger” or “Largest” from this menu. Internet Explorer remembers your selection.

Text Zoom in Windows Internet Explorer 6.0
Internet Explorer 6.0 Text Zoom option

There is, unfortunately, one problem. If font sizes on a Web page are defined using pixels (the dots on your screen) instead of other units like ems or percentages, this feature will not work and the text will not resize. There is normally no workaround for this (other that waiting for Microsoft to upgrade).

You might wonder if there is universal solution, something that can be applied to all Web pages. Who can blame you, squinting at your monitor is no fun, especially when reading long articles on the Internet. There is a solution, but it means dumping Internet Explorer as your primary browser (at least until they improve their font-zoom option). Don’t worry, if you know how to use Internet Explorer you will also know how to use other browsers, and you can keep them both around.

The alternate Web browser Mozilla has a similar font zoom option, but it works with every site on the Internet (as long as text isn’t displayed with images, like Apple’s home page). The same is true of Netscape 6/7, a browser based off Mozilla, but if you don’t use Netscape Mail or Netscape Composer, we suggest you stick with Mozilla (cleaner and more modern code, faster download, not bloatware).

From Mozilla.org download the latest stable build (avoid beta and alpha software, the download options are on the right-hand menu). You will be asked what to do with the download. Save it to your desktop (you may remove the installer after installation) then double-click on the installer to run it. After answering some installation questions Mozilla will be installed on your hard drive and you will ready. The text zoom feature is accessed in the same way (but is based off percentages instead of words) and works with all of our themes in addition to all text-based Web sites on the Internet.

Text Zoom in Mozilla (1+) and Netscape (6+) for Mac/Win.
Text Zoom in Mozilla (1+) and Netscape (6+) for Mac/Win

Colorblind, Link Underlines, and other Visual Issues

Although body text links here at Kongming’s Archives are not underlined, the chosen color shades should be easily discernable even for those who are colorblind. Furthermore, when you mouse over a link they will underline providing you with verification. If there measures are not adequate, and you still have noteworthy difficulties telling links apart from text, please send me an email and explain where the difficulty lies and any suggestions you might have for improvement. I will change link presentation to make navigation easier for viewers with disabilities. That aside, here is a useful solution that can be used in many browsers to make all sites on the Internet fully accessible.

Older browsers will not be able to access the “Style Sheet” option, but links should be underlined. The layout will be unformatted though, and less intuitive. We suggest you upgrade your browser to make use of modern Web standards. If not to view this site, do it because it will improve Internet accessibility and readability as a whole. The same goes for if you are using an odd browser like Opera, Omniweb, or iCab, for the time being they do not support all technologies used on this site, consider using Internet Explorer, Netscape 6/7, or Mozilla instead.

Are you tired of difficult-to-read links on other Web pages? There may be a solution, but it requires a little work on your part. If you are using a modern Web browser (if not, you can upgrade) check your browser preferences for an option like the one shown below.

The User Style Sheet option in Internet Explorer 5.2 Mac
The User Style Sheet option in Internet Explorer 5.2 Mac

Now open WordPad and create a document with the following text (you may copy/paste from the browser window) and save it to your hard drive (in a place like your documents folder) with a name like mystyles.css (make sure you include the ‘.css’ at the end). You may change color: blue; to something else if you feel it would look better (replace ‘blue’ with a new color name, or enter a hexadecimal value like #0000ff).

Click here to download the style sheet below in a .zip archive.

a { text-decoration: underline !important;
background: none !important; }
a:link { color: blue !important; }
a:visited { color: red !important; }
a:active { color: lime !important; }
/* Include if you want all backgrounds to be white and all text to be
black, overriding Web site defaults */
p, blockquote, ul, ol, h1, h2, h3, h3, h5, h6, pre,
div,b, i, strong, em, td, th, abbr, acronym, code {
color: black !important; background: white !important; }
* { background-image: none !important; }

Once you have prepared and saved the Style Sheet, activate the user style sheet option in your preferences, show the browser where the new CSS file is (using a preference button by the option), then hit “OK” to save changes.

Here is a snippet of what this page looks like with this style sheet active. As you can see, it can strip beauty from a page, but if readability and accessibility are your priorities this may be the perfect solution. Other sites on the Internet will be similar in appearance.

Kongming’s Archives – Stripped for Accessibility
Kongming's Archives – Stripped for Accessibility

Site Functionality: Access Difficulties

Kongming’s Archives was constructed and is maintained using modern Internet techniques that are, unfortunately, not supported by older browsers like Netscape 4.7.x and Internet Explorer 4.5.x. If you visit using one of these browsers, pages will be displayed without layout formatting. Despite this all content should remain accessible even in the oldest of browsers.

If you want to fully enjoy our layout, accessibility, navigation, and theme features, you will have to upgrade your browser to something modern like Internet Explorer 6.0, or the latest stable build of Mozilla.

While browsing this site if you come across accessibility issues that prevent you from reaching important content please report them at your convenience. The site will be updated to accommodate the access issue.



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March 7, 2014