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Audience Fit


Bonus! Hot Text chapter (80K, PDF, 2 minutes at 56K)


Check for alternate text.

Go to any site of the U.S. government, choose to view the source, and see if the team has provided alternate text for sounds, animations, image maps, images, and links. For instance,

  • Does the page invoke a stylesheet?
  • Are fonts defined as bigger or smaller than normal, rather than specific sizes?
  • To what extent does the site meet its legal obligation to be fully accessible?

Example analysis:


Http://www.state.nm.us (the New Mexico state site, visited April 10, 2003)

No, the picture of cactus blossoms does not have any alternate text. But the menu items, which are gif images, do carry alternate text.

There is an all-text version, and for that, they use a stylesheet: <link rel="stylesheet" href="../nmstyle.css" type="text/css">. The regular site is done in JavaScript, without a stylesheet.

Font sizes are relative, not absolute.

The home page is, officially, accessible. But if you go to the Text Only version, then click a link, you often go back to the world of JavaScript, that is, a graphic world without alternate text.


Other ways to make links hot

3a. Make clear what the user will get from the link.

3b. Within a sentence, make the link the emphatic element.

3c. Shift focus from the links or linked-to documents to the subject.

3d. Provide depth and breadth through plentiful links to related information within your site.

3e. Establish credibility by offering outbound links.

3f. Make meta information public.

3g. Write URLs that humans can read.

3i. Tell people about a media object before they download.

3j. Announce the new with special links.

3k. Write meta-tags to have your pages found.

Resources on writing links

Taking a Position on Links

Heuristic Online Text (HOT) Evaluation for Links



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