Specialists in Customer Service
Web Design Accessibility
What do we mean by Accessibility?
From the Oxford English Dictionary
Able to be reached or entered.
Let's take a moment to consider the implications of this.
Making your site accessible includes:
- Making sure people using other, non-standard browsers like Mozilla or Opera can access your page.
- Making sure Search Engines index your content and present your site well.
- Making sure people with a slow connection speed don't give up waiting for your site to download.
- Making sure people with a disability like color blindness can read your page comfortably.
Accessibility is about making sure you are in touch with your users.
If you have a website, Why did you create it?
Was it to sell your products on the web? Then having more people able to access your site makes commercial sense, particularly as they may turn into sales.
To present information on a hobby or club? Perhaps people browsing with anything other than the latest version of Microsoft's Internet Explorer would like to read about it too.
Or is it a family site, to tell people about what you do in your life? Other people may take pleasure in reading it too.
Whatever the reason you give, there are few (if any) sites that wouldn't benefit from being accessible.
How do I make my site accessible?
This is the full W3C checklist of things you can do to make your site accessible.
Note that they are divided into priorities - 1 being things you must do if you wish to make your site accessible, 2 being things you should do, and 3 being the things that would make your site seriously accessible.
If the list above looks too complicated for your liking, then try the W3C QuickTips.
From W3C WAI references.
- Images and Animations: Use the alt attribute to describe the function of each visual.
- Image Maps: Use the client-side map and text for hotspots.
- Multimedia: Provide captioning and transcripts of audio, and descriptions of video.
- Hypertext links: Use text that makes sense when read out of context. For example, avoid "Click Here".
- Page organisation: Use headings, lists and consistent structure. Use CSS for layout and style where possible.
- Graphs and Charts: Summarize or use the LongDesc attribute.
- Scripts, Applets and Plug-ins: Provide alternative content in case active features are inaccessible or unsupported.
- Frames: Use the noframes element and meaningful titles.
- Tables: Make line-by-line reading sensible. Summarize.
- Check your work. Validate: Use tools, checklist, and guidelines at http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG.
Some additonal tips by emdevelopments.
- Colors: Ensure there is plenty of contrast between background and foreground elements, to ensure easy reading. You may wish to use some of the online tools linked to at the end of this article.
- Page organisation: The ideal page structure is content first, menu last when read by a screen reader. This can be achieved by CSS, or by having a dummy table cell in the top of the left column, so that the right column is read first.
- "Skip Navigation" links: Where possible, provide links which will allow screen reader users to move around your page.
- Form Structure: Tab through any forms, making sure they work logically. If they don't consider using the tabindex attribute to correct this.
Here at emdevelopments we will help you to reach this broad spectrum of users. Our websites seek to comply with level 2 items on the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, and level 3 is easily obtainable by our knowledgable designers if required.
We are here to maximise your sales potential.
In addition to this, we can offer you advice on how you can improve your existing website.
Copyright emdevelopments 2004.