Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
For example, graphics-intensive pages may be virtually useless to those without high-speed internet connections. Deaf people, meanwhile, may have difficulty fully understanding pages with audio components, and images without explanatory captions may make web pages difficult for visually impaired users to understand.
When Tim Berners Lee created the groundwork for the World Wide Web, he expected it to become a community with access for all persons from all levels and parts of society. However, disabled web users still face significant challenges in accessing general-audience web sites. In response to this, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has specified three tiers of guidelines for creating accessible sites: Level A (the most basic accessibility), Level AA, and Level AAA.
Accessible-web designers are individuals and firms who create, develop, design, and write the technology for accessible websites. The most preferred and experienced are those who have accessible websites themselves. There are organisations that advocate accessible web design, such as the Guild of Accessible Web Designers (GAWDS) and the W3C.
Visually impaired people may use text-based or aural browsers, such as JAWS and Window-Eyes , but these applications work best with web pages that meet accessibility standards.
Section 508 of the U.S. Rehabilitation Act requires that federal agencies' web sites be accessible to people with disabilities.
Recommended web design standards
The W3C recommends that designers adopt the following techniques to increase accessibility:
- The use of alt attributes to describe the content or function of visuals, such as animations and images
- The use of client-side map element and text for image maps
- The use of descriptions for video content
- The use of hypertext links that make sense when read out of context
- The employment of headings, lists, and consistent page structure to make navigation easier
- The use of Cascading Style Sheets, rather than tables, for layout and style
- The summarization of graphs and charts, or use of the longdesc attribute
- The development of alternative content for scripts, plug-ins and applets, in case active features are not accessible, or are unsupported by the user's browser
- The use of a noframes element, and meaningful titles on framed pages, limiting the use of frames if possible
- The organization of tabular data so that it reads sensibly in linear form
- The summarisation of tables
- The use of validation tools
Standards and guidelines
Resources for the visually impaired
- Visionary Design Awards
- Guild of Accessible Web Designers
- Website accessibility designers
- EServer TC Library: Web Accessibility
- Accessible Web Designers
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