A Dreamweaver MX 2004 version of LIFT, an add-on product for developing accessible and usable Web sites within Macromedia Dreamweaver, has been released by Usable.Net, a company that develops usability and accessibility solutions.
Built upon the extensible architecture of Dreamweaver, LIFT lets Web sites be checked to ensure that they’re in compliance with government regulations that guarantee they’re accessible to those with various physical impairments. The extension can also connect users to an additional online service from UsableNet that allows tests to be automatically scheduled on live Web sites.
The suggested retail price of LIFT for Dreamweaver MX is US$299; there are discounts for education and government customers. The upgrade for current users of LIFT for Dreamweaver is available as part of the standard support contract for LIFT; info about the support options can be found online.
Dreamweaver MX 2004 is a component of Macromedia Studio MX, which began shipping Sept. 10. The suite, which is compatible with Mac OS X (10.2.6 and higher) and Windows, is available for purchase from the Macromedia Online Store.
What’s more, UsableNet has also released a new product called LIFT Text Transcoder that’s designed to increase Web accessibility; it generates an updated, text-only version of a Web site with no coding or maintenance.
In the past, text-only sites were discouraged as most were designed as separate static pages created once and never updated; developers didn’t want to go through the arduous process of constantly updating those pages by hand, according to Jason Taylor, UsableNet spokesperson. The LIFT Text Transcoder has changed this and allows Web administrators to use an automated server to generate a dynamic text-only version of a Web site regardless of platform, server type and technology used.
Text-only pages mimic the content of the original pages but are structured so that they resolve most major accessibility issues. The new LIFT Text Transcoder generates text-only pages on-the-fly so that they contain all of the latest information and don’t have to be manually maintained. It can be purchased as a managed service or a locally installed server. It costs $999 per domain per year; unlimited domain support is $2,999. In this case all text-only pages are delivered to the end-user’s browser by UsableNet and there’s no maintenance, hardware or set-up required.
“This is not a plug-in for Dreamweaver, but a standalone solution that will work with any Web site,” Taylor told MacCentral. “It will open up a vast amount of content to people with disabilities in a very simple way.”