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aaa approved  xhtml compliant

Accessible web design

Tips on ensuring your website meets accessibility requirements

Web accessibility is about making your Website accessible to all Internet users, regardless of what browsing or assistive technology they are using (such as screen readers)

When designing pages to be accessible to as wide a number of users as possible certain design principles apply. Below we have outlined the main 'do's and don'ts' of accessible webpage design. For further information on this topic go to the W3C Web Accessibility Initiative site.

Do's of accessible webpage design

  • Always include 'alt' text for images (users may be visually impaired or have images disabled for fast browsing and the 'alt' provides a textual explanation in lieu of the image)
  • Use style sheets and templates to ensure consistency across the site
  • Use XHTML or strict HTML
  • Ensure forms are accessible
  • Use meaningful page titles - the first thing that appears on a webpage and the first thing that visually impaired users hear is the page title
  • Use headings and sub-headings - visually impaired users can scan webpages by tabbing from heading to heading so ensure your headings are correctly marked up using <h1>, <h2> tags
  • Ensure colours used on the site have sufficient contrast for users with colour-blindness
  • Test your page to ensure they are accessible, you should do both automated tests and users tests


Don'ts of accessible webpage design

  • Don't use ambiguous hyperlink text where the text doesn't make sense out of context
  • Avoid deprecated HTML and invalid markup
  • Don't rely on tables for formatting content (some tables can be used for structure if labelled correctly but it is better to avoid them if possible)
  • link to large files without informing the user of both the file type (if not HTML) and the file size
  • Use flickering images
  • Rely on images to convery vital information that is not available in text form
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