handicap sign for accessible website design

Website Accessibility Designs

Accessibility on the Internet isn't about wheelchair access. It's about disabilities that even you and I may experience. As a business website owner it is to your advantage to address these issues because it makes your website more accessible to more customers. Further, the same techniques that make your web pages accessible to people with disabilities also make your web pages more readable by search engines.

Accessible web page design considers a wide range of users and the wide range of possible contexts they may be operating in. They may not be able to see, hear, or move at all. They may view the Internet with poor eyesight, color blindness, a text-only screen, a small screen, an outdated browser, a different browser entirely, a voice browser, a different operating system than you, a slow Internet connection, or with active content, such as JavaScript, turned off. All combined, the total approaches 30% of all Internet users. We custom design websites with standard accessibility included however, we can attain higher levels for websites that require it.*

Best practices for website accessibility**

  • Provide equivalent alternatives to auditory and visual content. When using images, photos, charts, movies or sound to convey a message, provide equivalent text on the page or in the code that communicates the same information. This text equivalent will be readable by search engines, voice browsers and braille displays while the original content was not.
  • Ensure that Web page elements are understandable when viewed without color. If color is used to convey information, users with colorblindness, poor contrast perception, displays that are monochrome or non-visual may not receive your intended message.
  • Validate that code and style sheets (XHTML and CSS) are used properly. There are many instances where website designers may misuse code and style sheets when building effects into the content, structure and presentation of Web pages. Such practice, whether intentional or not, hinders accessibility and can make the pages uninterpretable by some devices.
  • Create tables that can be interpreted correctly by browsers. Use tables for data; avoid using excessive tables for layout. Use CSS for layout. Label tables properly so they can be logically interpreted by search engines and non-visual browsers.
  • Ensure that users without some technologies can still read your Web pages. Some people choose to turn off style sheets or apply their own. Others will disable, or have a system that does not support, elements such as applets, JavaScript, Flash, frames, etc. Efforts should be made to ensure your website is still usable without these elements installed.
  • Let users have the option to stop or pause any elements that move, blink, or scroll. These elements will be an annoying distraction to some users while people with cognitive or visual disabilities may not be able to use the website at all.
  • Provide clear navigation. Use clear and consistent links, group related links, have mechanisms to skip links, and provide a site map so it is easy for search engines and all users to find what they are looking for at your website.

*See the specific services we offer for accessibility

**Adapted from the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0

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P.O. Box 751, Southborough, MA 01772
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Southborough Website Design, LLC