Web Resources and Guidelines
Accessibility Guidelines for SOU Web sites
What do we mean by accessibility?
Everyone should be able to use our Web site. While there are guidelines to address the needs of people with specific physical challenges, accessibility is not limited to this. Accessibility means making your site as easy to use and navigate as possible for everyone. This means having a pre-planned site structure and navigation, as well as following the guidelines for addressing the needs of the physically challenged.
It's also important to remember that accessibility is for humans. It's not realistic to expect computers to simply "do this" for us. Using a managemant application such as Publish helps in that it can remind us to add extra information to images to assist the sight-impared, or captions for videos for the hearing-impared, but it is still up to the person editing the website to see accessibility needs are met.
What do we mean by Web standards?
Web standards are a set of conventions agreed upon by a majority of Web developers and formalized by several organizations. They are also the guidelines that Web browser developers use to make sure that their browsers display Web pages correctly. The fundamentals of Web standards ensure that HTML is used only to provide a document's structure. A document's style is provided by Cascading Style Sheets (CSS). Structure means headings, paragraphs, lists, and tables. Style includes colors, fonts, borders, etc. Keeping a document's style separate from its structure allows a document to be displayed correctly according to the device being used (regular browser, printer, hand held browser, cell phone, or screen reader). Web standards are the key to making your Web pages accessible.
Accessibility Do’s and Dont’s
- Don't use font tags in your HTML.
- Don't use tables for page layout. Tables are to be used for tabular data only.
- Don't use graphics for text except for the top level heading, and then follow the next rule.
- Always provide an ALT tag with every graphic element to describe the graphic or provide a text translation.
- Don't link to files that are not readable on the web. Basically anything other then regular web pages and PDFs require that visitors to your website have special software on their computer. Not everyone can afford Word or Powerpoint.
- Be careful with colors. The wrong color combinations can make your page unreadable by people with color blindness and hard to read for people with normal vision. For best results, always use dark text on a light background. Black on white is always the best choice for readability.
- Keep it simple. Simple layouts with moderate style will assure that your site is accessible by the widest possible audience, while at the same time assuring that it will display properly in the widest variety of browsers.