Web Design For Accessibility

The concept of progressive enhancement (basic conceptualization is the separation of HTML, CSS and JavaScript) has become a hop topic for responsive website design. It can be simply define as the technique of building websites with strong foundations so that it’s accessible to the wide range of browsing situations (different devices)

The three separate layers (HTML, CSS and JavaScript) are useful for the accessibility of the websites, the web developer can at least be sure that all browsers and devices will be able to render the content and it is consider as the most important part of website.

Web accessibility refers to the inclusive practice of making websites usable by people of all abilities and disabilities. When sites are correctly designed, developed and edited, all users can have equal access to information and functionality. For example, when a site is coded with semantically meaningful HTML, with textual equivalents provided for images and with links named meaningfully, this helps blind users using text-to-speech software and/or text-to-Braille hardware. Such as Jaws screenreader (See demonstration on www.youtube.com/watch?v=C4SUIjggyN8), it makes blind users to access the webpage easily by listening to the options it gives. Another example of using JAWS screenreader is by Robin Christopherson (www.bbc.co.uk/accessibility/best_practice/case_studies/robin.shtml)

The webpage also need to be accessible by some other disabilities users such as poor sight or colour blind, according to BS 8878:2010, it is suggested text and images large and/or enlargeable, links are underlined (or otherwise differentiated) as well as coloured. Below is what web accessibility aims to address.

  • Visual: Visual impairments including blindness, various common types of low vision and poor eyesight, various types of color blindness;
  • Motor/Mobility: e.g. difficulty or inability to use the hands, including tremors, muscle slowness, loss of fine muscle control, etc., due to conditions such as Parkinson’s Disease, muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, stroke;
  • Auditory: Deafness or hearing impairments, including individuals who are hard of hearing;
  • Seizures: Photoepileptic seizures caused by visual strobe or flashing effects.

        Cognitive/Intellectual: Developmental disabilities, learning disabilities (dyslexia,        dyscalculia, etc.), and cognitive disabilities of various origins, affecting memory, attention, developmental “maturity,” problem-solving and logic skills, etc.

Besides the concept of Accessibility, there is going to be code example for developing website on the final draft.


BS 8878:2010 Web accessibility – Code of Practice

The W3C’s WAI Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0

Adaptive Web Design