Questions and Answers

Will mod_accessibility help me satisfy W3C, government or company accessibility guidelines?

Yes and no. In almost all cases it will help, but it won't magically satisfy any particular guidelines or standards. You should also audit your pages with Accessibility Valet to be sure you are fully compliant.

Will mod_accessibility interfere with my beautiful designs?

Not if you don't want it to.

Your pages may or may not look different in your browser(s) when processed through mod_accessibility - that depends on whether they rely on problematic markup that gets corrected.

But if you give your users the choice of whether to view your site with or without mod_accessibility (as recommended), then users will always see your originals unless they explicitly ask for accessible versions, so you have nothing to lose.

Does mod_accessibility produce a text-only page?

This is a user option. There is rarely a good reason for it - as text-only browsers can do this for themselves - but it's available. More usefully, mod_accessibility will add information to help text-only browsers work better for their users.

Will mod_accessibility improve the accessibility of my PDF, Flash or Javascript?

No. These are not accessible formats, although they do now offer some concessions to accessibility, and may be described as accessible in marketing materials. mod_accessibility won't touch them. If you are using them for important information or functionality, you should also offer an HTML (or plain text) version.

How will mod_accessibility affect my server's performance?

mod_accessibility parses your page and modifies it on-the-fly, This of course affects server performance. However, it is designed to be low-overhead, and the performance hit should be comparable to a simple server-side include (SSI). If used with a suitable cacheing strategy (such as mod_cache), the performance hit should be negligible. Try it for yourself, and read our performance hints.

We don't use Apache. Can we still benefit from mod_accessibility?

Yes. You can set up a Proxy server running Apache with mod_accessibility. Users wanting accessible content can then configure it as their proxy and gain the benefit of it. The proxy can of course run on the same machine as your main webserver or on another machine - that's entirely up to you!

How does mod_accessibility compare to Betsie

mod_accessibility offers more capabilities, simpler setup, and much faster performance than Betsie. For more information see our comparison.

How does mod_accessibility compare to the Accessibility Proxy?

mod_accessibility replaces the proxy altogether. For use as a proxy, it should be deployed together with mod_proxy, which will make it an altogether more powerful system than the old proxy.

mod_accessibility re-uses some of the proxy code.

Does mod_accessibility guarantee to generate valid HTML?

No - though it will fix some errors. However, if your HTML is valid, it won't introduce new errors.

Does mod_accessibility support both HTML and XHTML?

Yes. mod_accessibility fully supports HTML 4.01 and XHTML 1.0, and can be configured to generate output in either format. It does not support other HTML and XHTML formats directly, although it can accept them as input and will convert them to one of the fully-supported standards.

Does mod_accessibility support non-European character sets such as Russian, Chinese or Arabic?

It should, though we don't have the capability to test it.

In order to support this, mod_accessibility needs to know the encoding of the data it is processing. It will read this from the Content-Type header set by Apache. For example, if you use Apache's AddCharset directive with ISO-2022-JP, then mod_accessibility will read its input as Japanese. Output is always set to utf-8 (unicode), which is widely supported by web browsers and XML processors.

If you want more flexibility, you can use mod_accessibility together with a transcoding module such as mod_charset or mod_charset_lite.

I use other modules that manipulate URLs, such as mod_rewrite. Will mod_accessibility interfere with them?

mod_accessibility uses a /view=something component in the URL path. It is in effect claiming view as a reserved word. If you use the string /view= in URLs for other purposes, you will have problems. But we can easily change the word used - just ask if this causes you problems!

Apart from that, you'll be fine, unless perhaps you try and use it with some particularly shoddy third-party software. It will work just fine with well-written software, such as Apache's bundled mod_alias, mod_rewrite and mod_setenvif.