Web Site Accessibility Tips and Techniques

There is a lot of talk about making websites accessible to people with varying disabilities, this page should help you design your website to better cater for everyone who visits it.

Accessibility Tips and Techniques:

1. Add punctuation between links

Whenever speech readers are used they will not pause if you place url links next to each other without punctutation.

A bad example being:

Home  Products  Contact Us  Site Map

A better example is:

Home | Products | Contact Us | Site Map

2. Don’t rely on colour

Think about viewing your website in black and white and see what it looks like. Does it look the same? Are your links still highlighted? Could you navigate easily around the site? Well that is what it looks like to a visually impaired or colour blind person.

3. Always have good ALT text.

It is always important to have some form of ALT text on images when web designing, for your customers and for search engine purposes.

But it also equally important to provide meaningful alt text, as if a text to speech program is reading out a page and comes across alt text, it will read it out, but if your alt text has nothing to do with the image or does not explain the image, the user will not know what your image is about.

4. Don’t use URL’s as link names

It is not a good idea to use URL’s as link names, as shown below:

http://www.my-domain.com

it is better to use the following:

My-Domain

and have a link on the name, the main reason for this is that it can infuriate text to speech browser users, which will read out the full ‘h t t p : / /’ part.

5. Think about layout

It is a well known fact that humans on the internet do not like to read long wide paragraphs, it is always better to have short newspaper style columns for text.

6. Justified Text

Using justified text usually puts large spaces between words, text to speech browsers will have problems reading the spaces, so always use unjustified text.

7. Test your site with varying font sizes

Remember to try your site out using varying text sizes from the browser menu, i.e. larger, largest, small, smaller etc. As some users with sight problems may be viewing your site with the text size set to largest. Imagine how your website will look to them!

8. Use H1, H2 in order

It is important from a search engine perspective and good design practice to use the header tags in order when designing.

9. Turn off images

Try turning off your images and then you will see what other users will sight porblems will see and you will see the alt text and the text that will be read out by text to speech browsers.

Web Site Accessibility Tips and Techniques

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