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Derek Featherstone Talks Web Accessibility

TORONTO — The afternoon sessions at last weeks RGD Ontario Access-Ability Conference included Ottawa-based web accessibility expert Derek Featherstone who spoke about the fundamentals of web accessibility.

Derek Featherstone: Web Accessibility Expert, Further Ahead
Featherstone says accessibility needs to be part of the design process

He said the importance of accessible for the web is not just in meeting the guidelines, but about good design and planning. “Too much of accessibility happens between the implementation and launch of a project when the costs are highest,” said Featherstone.

Much of the information in his presentation centered on designing for people who use screen readers. This included ensuring there is another way to perceive images, such as descriptive texts and, he said images that could be added as text rather than images, such as a schedule should be.

He added that screen readers use picture names, so ensure your files are labeled with information that supports the image, not a generic file name. “We can’t just think visually,” said Featherstone. “If we do, we’re sunk.” Contact:,

by Val Maloney (originally published in Design Edge, 3 February 2010)

One comment on Derek Featherstone Talks Web Accessibility

  1. Great food for thought! I think many web designers/developers are only recently incorporating accessibility best practices into their regular approach to building a website. It’s great to see people like Derek promoting awareness of the issues around accessibility online!

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