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These accessibility tips are based on my interpretation of the WAI guidelines and are intended for home users to improve their level of accessibility (although these in themselves will not necessarily make a website accessible).
Professional web designers and developers should seek to understand and apply the guidelines themselves, or seek expert advice.
For links to further information and the guidelines, please see my Accessibility Resources page. Please note that many of these tests can be made easier by use of the Web Accessibility Toolbar from Accessible Information Solutions (with Internet Explorer).

  1. For all information that isn't directly available in the text, provide a text alternative (an alt attribute for an image, a transcript for an audio file; however a purely decorative image could have an empty alt attribute to signify that it contains no useful information).
  2. Check that colour contrast is sufficient between text and background. If you are not sure if you have sufficient contrast, use the Juicy Studio Colour Contrast Analyzer to check. Ensure no important information is portrayed solely by colour - if you have a picture of a red car, and the fact that is red is not significant, simply mention that it is a car. Otherwise, indicate in the text or alt attribute that it is a red car. Please note that AIS have made this function available via a Contrast Analyser program.
  3. Use css for presentation rather than using deprecated presentation tags, such as <font>
  4. Use relative sizes for your text (express font size in percentage or em terms, rather than using a fixed point size). This ensures that your visitors can adjust the font size they see according to their needs.
  5. For data tables, identify column and row headers with the <th> tag. If you use tables for layout, check that the tab order makes sense when linearised (this approximates to "if I read the elements in the order they appear in the HTML source, do they still make sense?").
  6. Check that pages are usable without client-side scripting. Some browsers are unable to handle client side scripting and some visitors switch it off because of security concerns. This is not to say you cannot include any javascript, simply that javascript must not be essential to being able to use your site properly.
  7. Check that the screen does not flicker or flash, and that noting on it blinks.
  8. Don't use pop-ups or change the screen without warning. Not only is it rude but it may be particularly confusing to a visitor with reasoning difficulties, or to a visitor using a screen reader.
  9. Check that your site is fully usable without the use of a mouse (can you navigate through your entire site using just the keyboard? To test, use the TAB key to move focus, and the ENTER key to select whatever is currently in focus.