Clifton Suspension Bridge, Bristol by Peter Frost 

Accessibility Issues

Keyboard shortcuts: Alt or Ctrl Key + 0 to 8, for help see Wikipedia access keys.


You do not have to put all of these features on a web site but using some of them will improve the accessibility of the site.

Visibility

  • Choose colours with a good contrast, that is text colour and background colour. Black on white or black on pale yellow are particularly good options.
  • Don't used 'fixed' font sizes and check that the View --> Text Size option works on your web pages.
If you use the Internet Explorer browser - to see the effect of allowing font sizes to change, tap the Alt key then v then x and finally change the size. Then repeat but change back to the original setting.

This is obviously useful to those with poor vision but useless if the web designer uses fixed sized fonts.

The Alternative to Fixed Fonts

There are other alternative but a nice simple one is to use a percentage font size. This site for example uses 100% for content (pale yellow), 90% for navigation (light orange), 225% for the main heading, that is - Accessibility Issues - on this page.

I find that the 100% is good for general use, which is why I usually use it for the content area, on this site that is pages in the pale yellow area.

Keyboard Shortcuts

For people who have difficulty using a mouse consider offering alternative forms of navigating with keyboard shortcuts.

I don't intend to go into the detail of html (the main language of the web) but this example shows how easy it is: -

A link to your sites home page in the html code might look like this :

  • <a href="index.html">Home Page</a>
to add a keyboard short cut add: accesskey="0":
  • <a href="index.html" accesskey="0">Home Page</a>
Then the two key combination of Alt+0 will take you to the home page. Note than on some browsers you also need to press enter.

To see how they work, try the keyboard shortcuts on this site. Hold down the ALT key and tap '0' then release both keys. you may also then have to press return.

Note Apple Macs use the Control (or Ctrl) key not Alt.

Voice Readers

  • Watch out theres a baby duck about!Have a text alternative (shown on mouse over in some browsers) on all important pictures. For unimportant pictures leave a blank text alternative.
  • Have text links for site navigation, never rely purely on a graphic link, for example a photo showing 'click here for next page' will not be meaningful to any voice reader software.
  • Use punctuation carefully, this is good for fully sighted readers too! Split long sentences into two or break them with a comma. All punctuation makes a voice reader pause briefly.

For a great deal more on all accessibility issues, visit: -

Next: Web Site Design >>