10+ Ways to Make Your Website Handicap Accessible

If you are trying to make sure that your website is handicap accessible but don’t know quite where to start, please don’t feel like you are alone.  First of all, you should be commended for making the effort as very few site owners even consider the needs of the visual or hearing impaired.  It’s actually not as easy as you might first think because sites have become more and more dynamic and interactive using web 2.0 technologies like ajax and other ways of manipulating what is on a page on the fly.  This is especially hard to deal with from a handicap support perspective.  With all of that in mind, here are 10 ways you can try to make sure your website is handicap accessible:

  • As pretty as we make our websites to attract potential customers, what good are all the frills if one is blind.  Though there is technology one can connect to a personal PC to help the visually impaired called the screen reader.  This is software designed for individuals who are blind, dyslexic, or have low vision. The software resides on the user’s PC and reads the text on the screen out loud, using braille-enabled keyboard commands rather than a mouse.
  • Make your site clearly understandable and comprehensible to a broad spectrum of users. Use readable and fathomable text content. Do not use small text fonts, slang or archaic language. Your web pages should work in a predictable fashion, following established norms for website appearance and operation.  http://www.ehow.com/how_6955274_build-accessible-website.html
  • Build your site to be visible and otherwise perceivable to users whose disabilities relate to perception. Create the content of your website so that it can be presented in a different format without informational or structural loss. For example, you may wish to incorporate the option for users to select a simpler layout version of your site. For non-text website content, text alternatives should be provided so that the content can be changed into forms including braille, speech, symbols or large print. Consider how easy it will be for users to hear and see the content on your website. Provide volume controls and clearly separate the website’s visual background from its foreground.
  • Create your website to be used and navigated by all users. To achieve this, make it possible for a user to control all website functions through a standard keyboard, not a computer mouse. Allow enough time for users to read and use the website’s content. Avoid design components which are known causes of epileptic seizures; examples include flashing images or any visual component emulating a strobe light. Provide clear and simple site navigation tools which will enable users to find their way around the site. http://www.ehow.com/how_6955274_build-accessible-website.html.
  • Government departments in most countries are required by law to provide accessible websites and in the UK it is law that websites must be accessible to the disabled, including the blind.  In doing my research I found that California is named in a class action suit because of inaccessibility of certain websites.
  • Read more: http://www.disabled-world.com/disability/accessibility/websitedesign/#ixzz1PCRkapca
  • When sites are correctly designed, developed and edited, all users can have equal access to information and functionality. For example, when a site is coded with semantically meaningful HTML, with textual equivalents provided for images and with links named meaningfully, this helps blind users using text-to-speech software and/or text-to-Braille hardware.
  • When text and images are large and/or enlargeable, it is easier for users with poor sight to read and understand the content.
  • When flashing effects are avoided or made optional, users prone to seizures caused by these effects are not put at risk.
  • When content is written in plain language and illustrated with instructional diagrams and animations, users with dyslexia and learning difficulties are better able to understand the content.
  • When clickable links and areas are large, this helps users who cannot control a mouse with precision.
  • When pages are coded so that users can navigate by means of the keyboard alone, or a single switch access device alone, this helps users who cannot use a mouse or even a standard keyboard.
  • When sites are correctly built and maintained, all of these users can be accommodated while not impacting on the usability of the site for non-disabled users.
  • When links are underlined (or otherwise differentiated) as well as colored, this ensures that color blind users will be able to notice them.
  • When videos are closed captioned or a sign language version is available, deaf and hard of hearing users can understand the video.

Much of this was derived from the Internet where there is a world of information waiting for the one who asks the right question.   I do realize how important the information is on our website, and would not want anyone to miss our message, whether we are selling a product or a service. That is why we go on the WWW to let the world know we are in business and have something to offer.  So not to exclude the visually impaired, the hearing impaired, or any other disability that would need easier access, it is important to take the test to see you’re your site is handicap accessible http://www.disabledworld.com/disability/accessibility/websitedesign/.

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