Saturday, July 15, 2006

Beyond Guidelines - Advanced Accessibility Techniques

Elements for making a Web page accessible ...

"When creating accessible websites, most Web developers and Web managers tend to follow the W3C accessibility guidelines. And rightly so - they are the most comprehensive accessibility resource on the Internet after all.

The W3C accessibility guidelines, or Web Content Accessibility Guidelines as they're officially known, could go slightly further however. Fulfilling the guidelines will give you a very accessible website (remember though, they are just guidelines so shouldn't always be taken literally). For ultimate accessibility though, try implementing some of these techniques too:

Hidden text
Hidden text can be very useful for screen reader users. If there isn't sufficient text for these users to gain an understanding of a particular section, then you can simply create this extra information and hide it from sighted users.

The most common and useful page items to insert invisible text for screen reader users include:

- Headings - Every single section on each page should have a heading placed immediately before it. This way, screen reader users always know that the preceding section has finished and a new section has begun. So, before the main navigation begins, you should insert a heading labelled, 'Site navigation'. Although this heading is extremely useful for screen reader users, it may look rather unsightly visually, so you can just make the text invisible."   continued ...   (Via Usability News)

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