Learning the Languages
When making websites accessible for assistive readers such as NVDA or JAWS, it is very helpful to know or at least understand computer languages. Websites use a language that the machine understands. A developer or programmer can tell the machine what they would like it to do. Communicating instructions in an understandable way is imperative. Listed below is a breakdown of different types of computer languages and how they assist when building an accessible website.
It is also important to note computer languages are constantly evolving. When speaking “tech talk” it is common to hear phrases like “1st gen” or “2nd gen”, etc. This means there are improvements or updates to the language or program.
Let’s begin with an overview of languages commonly used to provide accessibility:
- HTML stands for Hyper Text Markup Language. This is the core language of the web. HTML defines the structure and layout of web pages. It uses various tags and attributes to do this. Basic HTML is primarily static. This means content created with it usually does not change. A business slogan is an example. The most current version of HTML is HTML5.1 with .2 coming soon. HTML5.2 is in the development phase to enhance specific types of structural information.
- XML means Extensible Mark-up Language. W3C developed XML but it differs from HTML. XML allows customization via tags defined by the programmer and the transfer of data between various applications by using custom tags.
- In the context of website accessibility, it is important to mention “Accessible Rich Internet Applications” or ARIA. It works well with HTML and HTML5 because it assists with dynamic and interactive content like “click here” or other call to action buttons. ARIA makes those interactions accessible, so the screen reader user knows what to do.
For additional information please contact us via our site or email the author directly, Dee Moradi at firstname.lastname@example.org.