Creating Accessible Web Sites | Creating Accessible Digital Multimedia
Creating Accessible Analog & Print Media
Creating accessible Web sites need not be complicated as long as you keep some basic principles in mind from the earliest design stages. Here are five basic points to remember. A longer list of "quick tips" is available from the World Wide Web Consortium's Web Accessibility Initiative at www.w3.org/WAI/References/QuickTips/.
- Provide text equivalents for all images.
Assistive technology, such as screen readers and talking browsers, recognizes only text, not graphics. Therefore, always use an <alt> tag to briefly identify or describe the function of each visual element.
- Make sure all links are understandable when read out of context.
Screen readers and talking browsers provide users with a list of all links on a Web page. For maximum comprehension, make sure all link text makes sense when read alone. For example, never use "click here" as link text.
- Label all form elements and controls so they can be recognized by assistive technology.
Label all text fields, text areas, drop-down menus, checkboxes, and radio buttons so users of assistive technology can navigate all parts of a form.
- Mark up data tables so they can be navigated by assistive technology.
To ensure that users who are blind or visually impaired can navigate data tables, there are HTML tools that can help you make them more accessible.
- Provide captions, transcripts, and audio descriptions for all multimedia presentations.
Captions make it possible for users who are deaf or hard-of-hearing to understand all audio information. Transcripts can be read by braille users or by anyone who wants to scan the contents of a presentation prior to viewing it. Audio descriptions ("descriptive video") allow users who are blind or visually impaired to understand the visual elements of a presentation.
The following online resources outline general principles and detail methods for making Web sites accessible to users with sensory disabilities:
The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0
Produced by the World Wide Web Consortium's Web Accessibility Initiative (W3C/WAI), these guidelines also contain limited information about mobility impairments and cognitive disabilities. The next version of these guidelines will contain more complete information about cognitive disabilities; see http://www.w3.org/wai/gl for information about future releases.
IMS Guidelines for Developing Accessible Learning Applications
As part of its Specifications for Accessible Learning Technologies (SALT) project, the CPB/WGBH National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM) and the IMS Global Learning Consortium have published these guidelines specifically for online learning resources.
Making Educational Software Accessible: Design Guidelines, Including Math and Science Solutions
NCAM has also published guidelines for creating accessible software applications as well as Web sites. These guidelines will be expanded in December 2002 to include specific information about multimedia and textbook accessibility.