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Lesson: Web Page Design and Accessibility

  • Accessibility is for everyone, even WordPress users. What is it? Accessibility in web page design means creating a web page design where ANYONE can use it. And I mean anyone. I’m not talking just about the visually impaired, handicapped, or otherwise challenged. I’m also talking about those people in Russia and South Africa who are using physically challenged computers hooked up to generators that only run 2 hours a day, trying to connect to the Internet with old browsers and dial up connections. I’m talking about people from different countries who speak different languages and yet are trying to learn your language by reading your blog or site. I’m talking about people on cell phones and handheld computers. Those people, including the approximately 25% of all Internet users who are physically impaired in some way, need access to web pages, and as a web page designer (or tweaker), you need to know about accessibility.

    In the most simplest of examples, let’s talk about web users who have visual or physical impairment and rely upon your help to “see” or “hear” your web page. When you include a graphic or photograph, describe it in the alt part of the tag.

    ...and the ball bounced higher and higher as <img scr="ball.jpg" alt="graphic of a red and blue ball" /> the child bounced it....

    That’s not hard. For those who rely upon readers, they might hear, “and the ball bounced higher and higher as – image – graphic of a red and blue ball – the child bounced it” as part of the content. For those who want to know more about the picture, they can hold their mouse over the graphic and a small balloon would pop up and tell them “graphic of a red and blue ball”.

    You can do the same with links:

    If you are <a href="http://www.mysite.com/talent-shopping/" title="Article about shopping for photographic models">shopping for models</a> for your portrait photography....

    These descriptive additions to your graphics and links not only help those who need the help, in the complicated methodology used by Google, Yahoo, and other search engines, have been known to compare the words used within links and graphics with your keywords and titles and it can effect your page ranking….see, accessibility is a good thing.


    Testing your site for accessibility

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    EmacSpeak
    Introduction to the Voice, Your Aural Font – CSS Tutorial
    Accessible by Design
    Viewable with Any Browser Campaign
    Dive Into Accessibility

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