Responsible web design includes making pages accessible even to users with disabilities, such as hearing or sight impairments. The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has launched its Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI), which aims to make the Web more universally accessible. The WAI develops technologies, HTML authoring guidelines and tools, and also promotes education and research. The success of the initiative, however, relies on the participation of web developers to build sites according to the proposed guidelines.
Sight-impaired users may simply use a device that magnifies the screen for easier reading, in which case there are no special design requirements. Many vision-impaired users use a text browser (such as Lynx) in conjunction with software that reads the contents of the screen aloud. Some use devices that translate the text into Braille. Either way, there is a greater reliance on the structure and the text within the document. Content in graphics may be completely lost.
The following list presents a few simple measures you can take to make your pages more accessible.
Provide alternative text for all images (via the
attribute). Make the alternative text rich
and meaningful. Adding
alt text should be
standard procedure for all web page creation; in fact, in the new
HTML 4.0 specification, the
alt attribute is
now a required part of the
<img> tag. (See Chapter 9,.for more information.)
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