10 Ways To Make Your Site Accessible Using Web Standards

Smashing Magazine’s latest article 10 Ways To Make Your Site Accessible Using Web Standards

Without argument, one of the most important things to consider when creating a website is that it be accessible to everyone who wants to view it. Does your website play nice with screen readers? Can a user override your style sheet with a more accessible one and still see everything your website has to offer? Would another Web developer be embarrassed if they saw your code? If your website is standards-compliant, you could more confidently answer these questions.

The article lists 10 ways to improve the accessibility of your XHTML website by making it standards-compliant. They include:

  1. Specify the correct DOCTYPE
  2. Define The Namespace And Default Language
  3. Supply Proper Meta Tags
  4. Use Accessible Navigation
  5. Properly Escape JavaScript
  6. Properly Escape HTML Entities
  7. Use Only Lowercase Tags And Attributes
  8. Label All Form Input Elements
  9. Supply Alternative Content For Images
  10. Use The "id" And "class" CSS Attributes Correctly

You can read the entire article 10 Ways To Make Your Site Accessible Using Web Standards

ACCESSIFY Gets A Facelift

A verb: to make accessible

I’ve written about Accessify.com in the past and when I paid the site a visit today, I discovered it had had a face lift. Accessify provides a collection of accessibility tools and goodies just for you which include:

  • Skip Navigation Builder – Skip navigation links are very useful for keyboard-only users. This may be people who are completely blind and using a screen reader, but can also be used by people with poor vision or mobility problems.
  • jQuery Function Builder – Confused by jQuery syntax? Never sure when/where to place your parentheses, curly brackets and so-on? Use this tool to quickly build up a collection of functions that will be called when the page has loaded/is ready.
  • List-O-Matic – Generate CSS-styled navigation menus based on list items.
  • The new accessibility screencasts section, demonstrating accessible techniques in action (as well as video examples of how to use some of this site’s tools).
  • Quick Page Accessibility Test – a favelet-based page check tool.
  • Accessible Table Builder – Create an accessible table using scope, header and id attributes using a wizard to guide you through the process.
  • Accessible Form Builder – Quickly create a form with CSS or table layout, including all label elements simply by typing a list of fields that you need.
  • Pop-up Window Generator – Create pop-up windows that are accessible and search engine-friendly.
  • Form Element Generator – Lets you easily build individual form elements that are accessible (requires JavaScript to work).

So pop on over for a visit and give the various tools a try. I just finished playing with the List-O-Matic Menu Builder which allows both horizontal and vertical menus.

Access by Design: A Guide to Universal Usability for Web Designers

I was busy updating my website Genealogy Web Creations when I came across a resource I just had to share. Access by Design: A Guide to Universal Usability for Web Designers is a book by Sarah Horton. This book is a primer – a simple and concise introduction to the fundamentals and basic principles about designing accessible and usable websites.

You can read Digital Magazine’s Review of the book here:

And one from Web Reference here:

And you can access the full html version of Access by Design from Universal Usability.

Bad Practices, Spam and Irate Web Designers

Today I received an e-mail touting a new book and website hosting service that I consider not only spam but very poor advice for budding website designers and genealogists. My friend Tina Clarke wrote about it on her blog Bad Practices, Spam and Irate Web Designers.

After reading parts of their material and the methods they suggest using, I shudder to think of how many genealogists will buy the book and follow their advice for designing a website.

I echo Tina’s closing statement:

“. . . .the owners of this book and site sent the email to the wrong two people who feel strongly about valid and accessible code. (My good friend Pat Geary also received this email). Hence this post from two irate web designers.” [Read more…]

Accessible Forms

Many websites use forms – contact forms, search box forms, and guestbook forms. The list goes on. Internet shoppers use forms to select, pay and arrange for the delivery of their purchases. Forms are not the easiest thing to navigate for people with disabilities. We can make it easier by adding some elements to our forms. Learn how to make your forms accessible and how to create those forms in Expression Web.

Written by Patricia Geary - Visit Website