About CIA


Section 11. Special Cases

Accessibility Score Sheet Questions

11.1    Is an Assistive Technology accessible version available for information that cannot be made compliant any other way?

11.2    If any image maps are used, are they client side image maps or are redundant text links provided?

11.3    If a specialized applet, plug-in or software is required, is a link to download it provided?

11.4    If unique display techniques are developed, is text also written to the screen through the operating system?


While these situations should only occur rarely, they are included for completeness. An alternate accessible version may be provided when the content cannot be made accessible in any other way. In general, it is best to avoid maintaining two baselines because it is difficult to ensure they both remain up-to-date and that the content is comparable. That said, both technology and content limits may require an alternate version. For example, the browser baseline may not be up-to-date enough to support the accessible solution (though in this case it is often best to build accessibility in for when the technology catches up) or the content may take advantage of a single sense, such as image comparison. In these cases, creating an accessible version may be a good solution. It is worth examining if the accessible version would help all users. For example, a text alternative is needed for a map that shows a route visually, however this list of directions often helps all users.

Image maps are not commonly used, but if they are, assistive technology is better able to access client side image maps rather than server side image maps. If server side image maps are used then listing links below the image resolves the access problems. This is often a good solution for all users regardless of which type of image is used.

Because navigating is often more work intensive for assistive technology users, providing a link for any specialized software needed makes it easier for everyone to access your content.

Finally, if a client application or new hardware is developed that has new or customized display techniques, these should be tested with assistive technology to ensure they are able to read the output.

Test Approach

1. Is content within the application unable to be made accessible? If so, check to see if a comparable, accessible version of that content is available. Compare the content to ensure both convey the same information and are up to date.

2. Visually inspect the interface or use the FF Accessibility Toolbar to locate any image maps. If found, ask developer whether the image map is server or client side. Visually inspect the image map for text links and click links to ensure they provide comparable information.

3. Ask the developers if the end user will need to download and install specialized software. If needed, visually inspect the interface to determine if a link is provided.

4. This is client only and only applies when you’ve developed a unique way of displaying information, usually overriding the operating systems controllers. If needed, test with a screen reader to ensure it correctly interprets the content.

Posted: Jan 07, 2016 12:41 PM
Last Updated: Jan 07, 2016 12:41 PM