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Website Accessibility – Need and Basic Guidelines

by Vijayakumar Palaniappan

Website Accessibility means the website accessible to all the users in the web including visitors with disability. Many website owners know that their website is available in the internet for visitors to access information but possibly may not know whether their website is easily accessible and even be unaware about Disability Discrimination Act (DDA).

According to Disability Discrimination Act (DDA), all the business should make their services accessible to disabled users. There is also a section in DDA which addresses that if a business offers an online service, even the information is on a single page, and then the business is responsible for making an effort to make this information accessible to disabled users.

All new websites that are designed and developed should now follow the W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) and Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) against which the accessibility of the website is measured. But when the website is found isn’t complaint, then anybody can sue you legally, if they want to.

By following these guidelines, you enhance the professional look of your website, provide access to visitors who previously had not no choice, thus increasing your business prospects and finally not to forget, your business is legal.

Some basic Guidelines to increase the accessibility of the visitors

Validate HTML and CSS: To check if the HTML and CSS used is valid, W3C validator can be used. It is necessary that websites are checked as the validator automatically tells you about any errors and accessibility issues in the web pages.

Image and alternative text: For browsers which don’t support images, alternative text can be used to explain what the image is about as the user will only see the text.

Resize font text: Most of the internet browsers use Internet explorer to search for information. If the size of the text can be increased by choosing the font size to the largest then it means that your website is accessible to visitors. Use of Java script: Websites are not easily accessible when java script is disabled. Mostly people have the java script support switched off, if that’s the case then make sure that you use the Java script sensibly and unnoticeably.

Check for the following,

1. Website is accessible without the use of a mouse

2. Website has a Sitemap

3. Website has link text relevant to the content (blind users use tabbing while browsing websites from one link to the other)

Vijayakumar Palaniappan is a Marketing Manager at Samran Technologies. He can be contacted on 0207 043 0870 or emailed at vijayakumar.palaniappan@samrantech.com http://webdesign.samrantech.com

Monday, Apr 21st, 2008