Top 20 Tips For Website Accessibility 2

02 November 2008, by A. Cedilla
Part 2 of 2

Part 1 covered the first half of 20 guidelines you can follow to ensure you have a universally reader-friendly, accessible website. Here’s the second half:

11. If you use frames, have you titled each frame to make it easier for users to navigate your site and identify the frames?

12. When using applets and scripts, have you made sure that the pages are usable when all programmatic objects are not supported, or turned off? (If that isn’t possible, have you provided the information on an alternative accessible page?)

13. When using multimedia, have you provided an auditory description of the most important visual information on a multimedia presentation?

14. When using any time-based multimedia presentation (such as a movie or animation), have you synchronized the equivalent alternatives such as captions or auditory descriptions of the visual track to the presentation?

15. Have you made sure that the background and foreground colors on your Website have enough contrast so that when someone with a color deficit looks at it (or your Website is viewed with a black and white screen) they can still read it clearly?

16. Have you clearly identified the target of each link?

17. Have you provided a place to get information about your site, either through the use of a site map, or table of contents?

18. Have you clearly identified the primary language of your Website?

19. Have you provided information so that users can choose how they want to receive documents — by content type, language, etc.)?

20. Have you provided summaries for all the tables on your site?
Here are also some simple steps you can take that don’t require much work or technical ability:

Graphs and Charts:
When working with graphs and charts, make sure you’ve provided enough information so that any graphs or charts aren’t needed to understand the article, but are just supplements to it. You can also use the “alt” tag to provide information about them.

Image Maps:
Provide alternative text anywhere that the user must click on your Website, so that if they’ve turned off the graphics, or can’t view them, they can still understand what your site is about and can navigate around it. (Note: This method still doesn’t work with all browsers, but at least you’re trying!)

Tables:
When working with headers, use the “th” attribute so that users with a visual impairment can hear the table headers from their screen reader.

Hypertext Links:
When using hypertext links, use text that will make sense when a screen reader reads aloud to a visually impaired user.

Bold Face:
When writing your sales copy, use the “em” instead of the “b” tag. By using the emphasis tag, a screen reader’s tone will change, adding emphasis to what is on the screen. If you use a bold tag, the screen reader can’t recognize the change, and all of the copy will be read in the same tone.

Multimedia (Video, applets, and Plug-ins):
Try and provide alternatives when using multimedia. If you’re using streaming video for example, which has sounds or dialog, your two best options would be to either provide closed-captioning for the video or provide a text version for the dialogue. (This actually helps non-visually impaired viewers who have dial up instead of DSL, or for the times when the amateur video sound quality is poor.

When you use applets or plug-ins, look for alternative methods of presenting information such as text links, without relying on the applet or plug-in for navigating around your web pages.

So, how do you know if your Website meets the accessibility guidelines?

To see a very comprehensive list of tools you can use to check your website, you can visit WAI (Website Accessibility Initiative) .

If you”re interested in learning more about web accessibility, or you know someone who needs information or access to resources for a disability, you can get more information from the following links:

AWARE ( Accessible Web Authoring Resources and Education) a central resource for web authors for learning about web accessibility.
DAIS (Disability Access Information and Support)
You can also visit this section on Designing More Usable Websites.

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