So what makes a good accessible web site? Well, CSS and HTML compliance is one of the first that should be tackled, as making something that follows those guidelines will certainly be most of the way towards being a well-designed web site. One of the biggest frustrations of the visually-impaired is images without adequate descriptions – when you can’t see, it’s useful to know what it is you’re not seeing! The second most important asset is being able to scale the page so that those with limited sight can make everything really big and easily readable.
So, a few pointers for anyone out there doing web design.
- Try to design your web site to use percentages for widths rather than absolute values, and let the browser take care of the text wrapping.
- Boxes with rounded corners are lovely, very Web 2.0, but if possible try to make them flexible horizontally as well as vertically (unlike the ones on this blog which only expand vertically). There are plenty of tutorials explaining various approaches for this.
- When setting text sizes, *always* use em values rather than px or pt.
- tags have an alt=”” option – use it!
- Don’t use tables for layout – tables are for tabular data, not layout. CSS can handle layout far more elegantly and is far more flexible too.
- Check your web site for HTML and CSS compliance using the W3C checker – it’s well worth the time getting your web site to work correctly.
- Flash is evil.
- Now that IE7 is available, and as more people begin to use it, we can make better use of transparent PNG images and fixed positioned divs.
Rant over. 🙂