© 2021 Paul Mobbs; released under the Creative Commons license.
Created: 30th April 2021.
Length: ~2,100 words
(use section number as a hotkey to jump to it – check other hotkeys here)
From 2021, the FRAW site’s incremental update will seek to make the site’s accessibility functions better. Unfortunately, that means we have to completely redesign areas because of the way the new standards operate.
Where a page has a row of icons near the top, with an accessibility icon and a link to ‘blog accessibility information’, it has been upgraded. Pages without the link or icon are still operating under the old, ‘basic’, accessibility system.
This page describes how to use the site’s features to navigate more easily. This is an honest, practical assessment how the problems with assistive technology limit how accessibility is implemented, and the compromises this requires. For a more wordy take on the technical reasons for that, go to the core blog accessibility page.
2. The basics
This section gives a basic summary of how we make pages more accessible:
The site uses a large text size, with a good spacing between lines, to make it easier to read. How big that is will depend upon the resolution of the screen you are viewing.
If the text size is not to your liking you can change it. Usually the size of the browser display can be increased by pressing CTRL & +, or decreased with CTRL & −.
In general the flow of the page is linear. Where there are groups of images these will be displayed as an ‘aside’, so a basic screen reader will not read the labels or captions, interrupting the flow of the main text. Likewise, any extraneous information or discussion with be as a sidebar that will not be part of the main flow of the text.
The use of tabbing is enabled to access the links within pages (hotkeys are dealt with in the following section).
Where image maps are used these are excluded from the tab list, and an alternative means to access those functions is usually provided. Where images are used as links they will be excluded from the tab list. Instead a caption will usually be provided with a linked image, and this will be included in the tab list instead.
Also, when tabbing, the link which has focus is highlighted as a white on black box to make it easier to see.
As a general convention across the site, links are in three standard colours:
Blue links are ‘local’, linking to other resources on the Free Range Activism Website.
Red links are ‘off-site’, elsewhere in the Internet. In most cases off-site links are opened as a new page.
Magenta links may be ‘local’ or ‘off-site’ links, but to sites hosting ‘debatable’ content which some Internet providers block – such as scientific papers hosted outside of paywalls.
Green links are ‘within page’, such as references or bookmarks.
In almost all cases links will have a description in their ‘title’ attribute. Unfortunately how different technologies deal with the link text, its title attribute, and additional ARIA information, is not consistent.
We hope that this quick run-through enables you to use the pages of this site a little more easily. As the site is incrementally upgraded, this will hopefully make more of its content more easily available.
3. Keyboard access to blog menus
The focus on website design and accessibility is nearly always on readability. In fact the ability to easily navigate is just as important. This section lists the general hotkeys for the blog menus. The blog posts, because of the high amount of graphics, have their own set of keys described in a separate page.
To aid navigation as simply as possible, any link that has a ‘hotkey’ associated with it states that in the title. When the mouse hovers over the link, or the screen reader reads the link title, it will list the hotkey for it. Otherwise 'Hotkey' & 'K' will bring you directly to the keyboard list from most indexes.
The design of ‘Ramblinactivist’s Blogs’ menus tries to use a consistent set of hot keys. Apart from the same set of shared keys, each blog has a set of keys setup for its particular layout. Which key or keys you must press to activate the hot keys feature on your computer varies. Check the keys for the machine and the browser you use.
To remind you, the link titles with hotkeys usually state which key to use. Unfortunately not all screen readers present that information in the same way.
These are the hot keys for the Banburyshire Rambles Photo-Journal:
'Hotkey' & 'H' – ‘Last Chance (HS)To See’
This key jumps to the, ‘Last Chance (HS)To See’ area.
'Hotkey' & 'J' – ‘About the blog’
Common across all my blogs, ‘J’ jumps to the ‘about’ page that describes the blog and its purpose. The pages within that area are accessed with the following hotkeys –
'I', the main ‘introduction’ to the Banburyshire Rambles blog.
'L', a list of the background images used across the Banburyshire Rambles blog.
'O', information about ‘Banburyshire’.
'U', information about ‘The Irondowns’.
'Hotkey' & 'M' – go to external map
On any page that links to an external map for a site, ‘M’ jumps to that external site. Unfortunately, we can’t guarantee its accessibility.
'Hotkey' & 'N' – ‘Banburyshire's Ancient Sites’
This key jumps to the, ‘Banburyshire's Ancient Sites’ area. The pages within that area are accessed with the following hotkeys –
'I', the index and introduction to the guide, including any future updates.
'L', a full list of the ancient sites with brief descriptions.
'M', a clickable map of the ancient sites in the guide.
'O', a permanent collection of local walks around ancient sites.
'U', an exploration of the issues behind the creation of the guide.
'Hotkey' & 'P' – ‘Recent posts’
‘P’ jumps to the latest walks index, listing the walks posts for the last five seasons.
'Hotkey' & 'R' – ‘Radical History’
‘R’ jumps to the ‘Radical History’ area.
'Hotkey' & 'S' – ‘Permanent posts’ area
‘S’ jumps to the ‘Permanent Collection’, where particularly exceptional walk posts are kept.
'Hotkey' & 'V' – ‘Backpacking & Wild Camping’
‘V’ jumps to the, ‘Backpacking & Wild Camping’ area.
Ramblinactivist’s Blogs common keys:
There is a common set of keys that work across all index pages, allowing you to navigate between all five blogs:
Hotkey with A to G – jump between blog main indexes.
The five ‘Ramblinactivist’ blogs currently use the same hotkeys to access the main index of each blog –
A, jumps to the main index of The Free Range Activism Website.
B, this is the core index for my blogs, with the latest posts from all five blogs merged.
C, ‘The MetaBlog’, my general/technical blog.
D, ‘Banburyshire Rambles Photo-Journal’, my blog on walking and the North Oxfordshire countryside.
E, ‘Long Walks and Anarco-Primitivism’, a blog on lifestyle change, simplicity, and spending time outdoors.
F, ‘An Anarchist’s Cookbook’, a blog on food, nutrition, and low impact lifestyles.
G, ‘djnz’s hackblog’, a blog on ‘techno-Luddism’, documenting ideas for low-tech engineering and technology hacking.
Hotkey & Q – ‘Accessibility page’
‘Q’ jumps to the accessibility page for that blog, listing the hot-keys specific to the content for that blog, as well as this list of common keys.
Hotkey & K – hotkeys list
Whenever possible a page will have a link to this list of hotkeys to make access easier.
Hotkey & W – ‘Spoken Word’
Some of these pages have an audio recording of the text. Where that is included in the page ‘W’ will take you to the audio player embedded in the page. If the audio has been uploaded to another site on-line, it will take you to the page for that recording. To control the audio player, see the section below on ‘How to control the audio player from the keyboard’.
Hotkey with 1 to ‘9’ – select bookmark
Longer pages are divided into numbered sections, listed at the start of the page. Use number keys to jump to a specific section.
Hotkey & 0 – jump to bookmarks list
This jumps the display back to the start of the page bookmarks list.
Hotkey & I – go to section index
Where pages are divided into multiple related pages, this takes you back to the main index for that section.
Hotkey & J – ‘About the blog’
‘J’ jumps to the ‘about’ page that describes the blog and its purpose.
Hotkey & P – ‘Recent posts’
‘P’ jumps to the latest posts page.
Hotkey & S – ‘Saved posts’
‘S’ jumps to saved posts, or archive for the blog.
Hotkey & T – ‘Top of the page’ area
On many pages ‘T’ jumps to the top of the page for the main menu, where the tabs to access the five blogs are located.
Hotkey & Y – ‘Ramblinactivist’s YouTube Channel’
On many pages ‘Y’ jumps to Ramblinactivist’s YouTube Channel. Note that it usually opens in a new browser tab/window because it is located on another site outside FRAW.
Hotkey & Z – background image
On most pages with a large decorative background image, this gives access to information about the background image for the page.
Hotkey & [ (left angle bracket) – copyright page
Jumps to the copyright page, listing copyright information and why these blogs use open content licences.
Hotkey & ] (right angle bracket) – contact page
Jumps to the contact page, describing the various means for getting in contact with Paul Mobbs.
Hotkey & < (less than key) – Post PDF version
Within a post page, the ‘<’ opens the PDF version of the blog post – where it is available and enabled.
Hotkey & > (greater than key) – jump to associated video
Within a post page, the ‘>’ goes to the video associated with the blog post on ‘Ramblinactivist’s YouTube Channel’ – where it is available and enabled.
4. How to control the audio player from the keyboard
The latest version of the web standard, HTML5 includes codes for an embedded audio and video player. Unfortunately when they designed it they never thought to make it easily accessible to keyboard users. We think we’ve found a work-around for that.
Firstly, to control the player you must ‘have focus’ on it:
You could use the Tab key to focus on the audio player.
The ‘Tab’ key requires you to work your way through the page to the audio player, link-by-link. When you have focus on it a big red border will light up around the player – as shown in the image on the right.
Or more quickly, use Hotkey & W – for ‘Spoken Word’ content.
To save all that tabbing, you can jump to any recorded content in the page using ‘W’. This locks the browser’s ‘focus’ on to the media player in the page. When you have focus there will be a red border around the player. (When you want to release the focus, to go somewhere else, just press ‘Tab’.)
Note that in some cases the audio may not be on this web site, or the page may link to other on-line content. In which case ‘W’ will take you to another website where the audio or video recording exists (unfortunately we can’t control how accessible that content will be).
Secondly, when the player is highlighted with a red border you ‘have focus’ on it, and the following keyboard controls will manipulate the audio player:
Spacebar – Start/Stop
The spacebar starts and stops/pauses the player.
Right key – Fast-forward
Pressing the right key speeds forwards through the recording. This works whether the recording is playing or not.
Left key – Rewind
Pressing the left key speeds backwards through the recording. This works whether the recording is playing or not.
Home key – Jump to Start
‘Home’ goes back to the beginning of the recording. If the recording is playing it will play from the beginning again.
End key – Jump to end
Jumps to the end. If the recording is playing it will stop.
Up key – Increase volume
Increases the volume in the little slide control of the player.
Down key – Decrease volume
Reduces the volume of the playback.
Hotkey & X – Audio player instructions
This is a lot of detail to remember. Where there is an audio player in the page, just use ‘Hotkey’ and ‘X’ to jump directly to this list of instruction on using the audio player.
In most cases, below the player are links to the audio files that the player uses. You can download the audio file using these links. If you click on the link it will open in the browser as an audio file – after which you can use ‘Save Page’ to save a copy. If you hover over the link, you can also right-click and use, ‘Save As’, to save without playing it.