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Accessibility
 
last update  29/08/2008 17:02
 

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What is accessibility?
Accessibility of a website means a combination of techniques and careful planning which make the site's content obtainable and usable by everyone, while attempting to eliminate obstacles of either a technological nature or for those with disabilities: outdated computers; different browsers and video resolution; visual, motor, or perceptive difficulties.

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Our approach
We aim to do our best so that the Banca Generali site meets the needs of all users and everyone can easily find the information they are looking for. Accessibility of a site is obtained technically by following the guidelines provided by W3C www.w3.org (World Wide Web Consortium), the worldwide consortium engaged in the standardisation of website design, in its WCAG www.w3.org/TR/WCAG10 (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines).
Our approach to accessibility, however, is not merely to seek formal certification, but is targeted at making a tangible contribution to the right of each person to access the information they require in a complete and satisfactory manner.
For this reason, we have created our "Banca Generali", which envisions the development of the site over time through an approach which applies the minimum accessibility standards and also offers a "personalised" approach which respects certain requirements which are considered fundamental.
This is why we have chosen not to publish a seal of quality. Our team is working toward this goal with the commitment to bringing about the necessary changes and improvements: it is a long process and we also need your collaboration to continue to improve.

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Tools and functionality currently available
In addition to using automated programs such as Bobby to verify accessibility, the site has been tested with the most commonly used browsers (Internet Explorer 5, 5.5 and 6; Mozilla/Netscape; Opera; Safari), at different resolutions (from 800x600 and above), to obtain the most accurate and stable visual performance possible under all conditions. In addition, to get an accurate measure of the actual accessibility of the site to users with sight difficulties, we used a program which is the most common in Italy and utilised by most users, Jaws www.freedomscientific.com/fs_products/software_jaws.asp from Freedom Scientific. General pagination was done using tables, with attention paid to the guidelines given in W3C: simple tables, correctly aligned (tests performed using the text browser Lynx and Opera with style deactivated) and with a title which clearly describes the function. In addition, a proportional method is used to determine the size of the various characters: this allows each user, particularly those with visual difficulties, to resize the text through their browser. The size of the characters on the UniCredit site, in fact, can be modified by clicking the AAA link on the menu bar at the top right. Finally, the colour relationships between the text and the background were tested using appropriate tools VisCheck www.vischeck.com to guarantee the best readability possible with the colours used.

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Users who only use the keyboard - Navigating utility
When a form is to be filled in, for example, the following keys should be used:

  • tabs to navigate between data-entry fields
  • a send key to send the form when the "focus" is on the applicable item [or, alternatively, when the item is "active"]

It was decided that no specific tabulation order would be set: this is because the navigation sequence (for those who move around the page without a mouse) is already guaranteed by the sequence of the programming language itself, therefore, there would be no advantage to altering it.
For increased ease of navigation, we have introduced the so-called "skip": this feature allows bypassing of repetitive navigation items (such as the menu, for example) and direct access to the page contents.
Finally, to improve navigation speed, some shortcuts (or "accesskeys") have been introduced and an effort has been made to conform these commands - in the absence of a formal standard - to those most commonly encountered on the net. The combinations require simultaneous use of the ALT key (or CTRL for Apple users) together with the following numerical keys (it is sometimes necessary to also press the "enter" key to activate the command):
Key navigation commands:

  • ALT+x - Direct access to page contents
  • ALT+s - Direct access to the functions menu
  • ALT+y - Direct access to the primary menu
  • ALT+z - Direct access to the secondary menu
  • ALT+0 - Home page
  • ALT+1 - About Us
  • ALT+2 - Business
  • ALT+3 Corporate Governance
  • ALT+4 - Investor relations
  • ALT+5 - Media Center
  • ALT+l - Change language
  • ALT+m - Site map
  • ALT+c - Contacts
  • ALT+f - FAQ
  • ALT+a - Accessibility

As you see, users with disabilities can skip the header entirely and go directly to the information contained on the page by using these keystroke combinations. Another keystroke combination allows direct access to the second level menu positioned on the left.

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ALT tags on graphics
We have equipped all images on the site with an ALT tag which allows user-assist programmes utilised by persons with disabilities (such as screen readers) to read a description of the image.

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TITLE tags on links
Each link on the website - including a link to another site, link to open a pop-up window, or to download a file - has a text describing its function.

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Further discussion on the subject
For those interested in a more in-depth discussion on the subject, we have provided the following useful links as a starting point:


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