Web Accessibility: Web Standards and Regulatory Compliance (Book review)

Since accessibility is something every Web professional needs to be familiar with, it’s excellent to have one more book on the subject to refer people to. And this is not just another book on the subject - Web Accessibility: Web Standards and Regulatory Compliance is, despite the awkward title, an excellent and very well-written book that explains the various aspects of Web accessibility.

The book is based on Constructing Accessible Websites, which was published in 2002. That’s four years ago. In the fields of design, development, and accessibility for the Web, that is a very long time, which is also reflected in the book. It explains modern and up-to-date accessibility tools, techniques, and technology, as well as other aspects such as laws and regulations in various parts of the world, and how content published in formats such as Flash and PDF can be made as accessible as possible.

Web Accessibility: Web Standards and Regulatory Compliance is divided into three parts: The impact of Web accessibility, Implementing accessible websites, and Accessibility law and policy.

Part 1: The impact of Web accessibility clarifies what accessibility is, debunks some common myths about Web accessibility, and explains the business benefits of having an accessible website. There is also an overview of accessibility laws and guidelines and a chapter on setting up an accessibility organisation in an enterprise.

Part 2: Implementing accessible websites makes up the largest part of the book, and goes into details on various techniques you can use when building a website. One chapter each is devoted to subjects such as accessible JavaScript, accessible Flash, and accessible PDF. There is also a detailed chapter on accessibility testing, an introduction to WCAG 2.0, and much more.

Part 3: Accessibility law and policy provides an in-depth look at accessibility laws and policies in the U.S., and briefly touches upon similar laws, regulations, and guidelines in the rest of the world.

When I started reading this book, which consists of 650 pages, I was a little worried that it would be too much for me to get through in a reasonable time. I was worried for no reason - the book is written in a clear and easy-to-understand language that makes it very hard to put down.

This is a must-have, even if you already have a good grasp on Web accessibility.

Details for Web Accessibility: Web Standards and Regulatory Compliance
Authors: Jim Thatcher, Michael R. Burks, Christian Heilmann, Shawn Lawton Henry, Andrew Kirkpatrick, Patrick H. Lauke, Bruce Lawson, Bob Regan, Richard Rutter, Mark Urban, Cunthia D. Waddell
ISBN: 1590596382

Posted on October 10, 2006 in Accessibility, Reviews


  1. October 10, 2006 by Teddy

    I haven’t read the whole book yet - only certain parts, but it’s true what you’re saying. It’s a very good book which is - believe it or not - an easy read.

  2. Thanks for the kind review, Roger. It’s particularly nice that you said it’s easy to read, as one of my jobs as editorial consultant and a tech reviewer was to ensure readability. Nice to know we succeeded!

  3. I only read half of your review, because I am only halfway through the book and I don’t want any spoilers. he.

    I really like this book. It took a while to get into things with the first few chapters, but once the ball got rolling it has become a great read. I have noticed that the book is not about being exhaustive on each subject, but about giving you fresh ways of doing things (css/javascript/flash/etc) - and then giving you extra resources to dive deeper.

    I am very impressed with this book so far.

  4. I interviewed one of the authors of this book, Christian Heilmann. Go to the Web Axe web site to listen: http://webaxe.b l o gspot.com/2006/10/interview-with-author-christian.html

  5. October 10, 2006 by Roger Johansson (Author comment)

    bruce: Yes, you definitely succeeded :-).

    Nate: No spoilers, I think.

    Dennis: Sorry about the blog spot thing. I get way too much spam from that domain to allow it, unfortunately.

  6. I have this book and it’s excellent. I haven’t read the whole thing, and I doubt I will. Rather I’ll pick and choose relevant material as needed. So far, though, I like what I’ve read. Admittedly I am biased towards this particular title because one of my sites, GreenMethods.com, is featured in the sub-chapter on heading navigation, chapter 7, page 185. Gotta love that! ;-)

  7. Sounds like an interesting book! I’m trying to get my own blog started and this could make a good reference.

    (Note: If you got to my site now it’s just a typical drupal install, sorry… soon I promise!)

  8. Hello Roger,

    thank you a ton for this review. I will put this book on my list of next book purchases. :)

  9. Agreed excellent book but, I think you may want to amend Cynthia’s name in your credits list ;)

  10. Sweet! Gone and added it to my list! Thanks!

  11. October 12, 2006 by Johan

    Roger: I have bought books from friendsofed about flash, flash XML. Good series!

    Try this one: Advances in Universal Web Design and Evaluation: Research, Trends and Opportunities

  12. good

  13. The book spanned many different topics (accessible javascript, CSS, accessible PDF and Flash) I will put this book on my list of next book purchases too

  14. Rogers! According to you the book seems quite interesting, definitely i would like to take a look at this book. Thank you for providing the information about this book.

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