The practice of web accessibility allows all users, including those with disabilities, to access complete website content. Web accessibility encompasses all disabilities, including visual, auditory, physical, speech, cognitive, and neurological disabilities.
A key principle of accessibility is designing websites and software that are flexible to meet different user needs, preferences, and situations. This flexibility also benefits people without disabilities in certain situations, such as people using a slow Internet connection, people with "temporary disabilities" such as a broken arm, and people with changing abilities due to aging.
The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) develops strategies, guidelines, and resources to help make the web accessible. For more information, visit the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) at www.w3c.org/WAI.
The following ten "Quick Tips" summarize key concepts of accessible web design, and are not complete guidelines. For more information, including explanations, strategies, and detailed markup examples, visit www.w3c.org/WAI/References/QuickTips/Overview.php.
- Images and animation. Use the alt attribute to describe the
function of each visual.
- Image maps. Use the client-side map and text for
- Multimedia. Provide captioning and transcripts of audio,
and descriptions of video.
- Hypertext links. Use text that makes sense when read out of
context. For example, avoid "click here."
- Page organization. Use headings, lists, and consistent
structure. Use CSS for layout and style where possible.
- Graphs and charts. Summarize or use the longdesc
- Scripts, applets, and plug-ins. Provide alternative content
in case active features are inaccessible or unsupported.
- Frames. Use the noframes element and meaningful
- Tables. Make line-by-line reading
- Validate. Check your work. Use tools, checklists, and
Reprinted with Permission. Introduction to Web Accessibility v. 2.0 September 2005, S.L. Henry, ed. Copyright 2005 World Wide Web Consortium, (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, European Research Consortium for Informatics and Mathematics, Keio University). All Rights Reserved.
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