Accessibility is not just about making sure that people with disabilities can use your site. It is also about allowing a wide variety of users and devices to have access to information, thus maximizing your potential audience by letting users experience the website as they choose. Designing for accessibility means accepting that, for online information, there is:
- no standard user on the web, and
- no standard device for browsing information.
An accessible website doesn't exclude visitors due to their abilities, or the method they choose to access the web.
Accessible websites make clear content, structure, and ease of navigation a priority over the frillier aspects of design. This doesn't mean they are visually unattractive, nor does it mean they are prevented from using the latest web technologies, provided that all information is still accessible to users.
Strive to provide web content that meets accessibility guidelines as defined by the World Wide Web Consortium (WC3).
Basic Criteria for Keeping a Site Accessible
- Images. Use the ALT attribute to describe the function of each visual (Appropriate Use of Alt Text) (Choose the Best Images).
- Multimedia. Provide captioning and transcripts of audio, and descriptions of video (UUA.org Policy on Transcripts and Captions for Video).
- Hypertext links. Use text that makes sense when read out of context. For example, avoid "click here" (Meaningful Links, Brief Links)
- Page organization. Use headings, lists, and consistent structure (White Space, Meaningful Headers).
- 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.
- PDF files. HTML is always the preferred format for web documents. If you use PDFs, be sure they are not just images of text or captured but non-edited text (Accessible PDFs).
- Frames. Do not use frames. Frames have many accessibility and usability issues.
- Tables. Make line-by-line reading sensible, and summarize (Accessible Tables).
- Forms. Use the label attribute and review your form's instructions and keyboard controls (Accessible Forms).
- Check your work. Make sure your code is validated. Cross-browser compatible XHTML has the best chance of being accessible to the greatest number of browsers.
For more information contact web @ uua.org.
This work is made possible by the generosity of individual donors and congregations. Please consider making a donation today.
Last updated on Tuesday, March 26, 2013.
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