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ICT Hub's website accessibility guide proves very useful

Howard Lake | 8 September 2006 | Blogs

The ICT Hub‘s new free guide ‘How to commission and design accessible websites’, published for voluntary and community organisations, is a very useful guide. In particular it has helped UK Fundraising focus on some accessibility issues to address in the next version of the site.
Snippets of advice that I’ve found particularly useful and which were news to me included:
* you can test a website colour scheme for colour blindness issues at
* many websites don’t allow textphone (Minicom) users to give their textphone number, rather than their phone or fax number, as their preferred method of contact
* you should use two cues to make hypertext links obvious ie. a CSS mouseover colour change/underline, and a markup or context cue such as, respectively, font-weight/font-size (in the CSS) and positioning links in particular areas of the pages
* text such as “click here for…” is unnecessary in the alt text of a graphical link – screen reader software will usually indicate that the text relates to a link
* you can provide CSS styling for older browsers (CSS1) by hiding the more advanced CSS (CSS2) using the @import command rather than using browser detection scripts
* links that open a new browser window or take the reader out of your site should be flagged up to the reader as such
* a requirement for level 2 accessibility in the W3C’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines is that page layout dimensions and font sizes are relative, in percentages or ’ems’
* level 2 accessibility requires the facility for users to stop movement on a page – and this includes animated gifs.
The publication offers extensive practical help, and is well worth working your way through, if only to engage with the issues that your website designers and developers must tackle and deliver.