Web Content Accessibility- Design Best Practices
|Date Added: July 17, 2011 05:48:44 AM|
Accessibility allows less-abled people and people with reading difficulties to access websites. In an ideal world all websites should be designed in such a way that you do not have to double think about the accessibility features to install. But a lot of amateur and even pro designers fail to learn and apply even the basics.
For example, screen readers, such as, JAWS and WindowEyes have a hard time reading websites simply because a lot of sites do not follow the basic principles of navigation and content management. You don’t special training to follow this. These readers are built around normal web design and not the vice-versa. In other words you don’t really have to adjust in order you please them all you have to do is at least follow your basics properly. We’d discuss couple of very important points that’ll help you gain perspective on what we are talking here.
Use Your Headings Wisely
Using your headings with H1 tags has been a major point of debate for a long time now. Semantic experts want each major section to be headed by using H1 tags. Wile SEO guys do not want too many H1 tags on a page simply because it dilutes their keyword density. If you have bee a designer for some time you’d know that it makes most sense to use headings for navigation sections as well. F you think about it navigation is not really part of the content on any page it’s a separate stuff.
To beat the heading woes a lot of designers then resort to subheadings. Again this may be due to a number of reasons. Sheer ignorance that you can actually use multiple H1s without any problem, or, again the scare given by their SEO colleague.
Headings define and announce sections of your web page neatly. Think from your user’s perspective. Neatly defined sections with separate headlines make sense doesn’t it. That exactly is what the screen reader’s want. You also don’t have to worry about the SEO side of things multiple headings never hurt your search engine rankings.
Prioritising Content On the Page
Web pages are not simple documents any more. They have all the bells and whistles added in the form of multimedia, sound, videos, Flash and images integrated with the content. Still, they are primarily meant to be read. That’s exactly what screen readers like to do.
By putting the content first in the page makes it easy for everyone- readers, screen readers, and search engines. People sometimes do this by putting the content at top in source code while visually they do what they want. Well, it kind of serves the purpose but the debates about why content is not a priority for people goes on.
Victor Solovey is working as a senior web developer a professional web design company[link]. His expertise is in increasing web accessibility and usability to render websites to larger audience. Victor can be contacted to do psd to xhtml conversions quickly.