Design Accessible Web Sites

This book provides both an ideal introduction to accessibility as well as a central reference to all of the different aspects of accessibility that you need to take into account when designing a web site.

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There is a lot more to accessibility than just taking the needs of a small percentage of your visitors with obvious disabilities into account as this book clearly demonstrates. The book starts by considering the various types of disability - visual, audial, and cognative - and throughout the book covers a huge range of things that can be taken into account in order to make a web site easier for people with varying degrees of disability in any of these areas to use.

The order in which the information is presented in this book makes the book easy to use regardless of the type of web site that you are creating. The aspects of accessibility that apply to all web sites are dealt with in the earlier part of the book where such things as colour selection to allow people who are colour-blind to still read the page and how to make the page usable forr people without a mouse are covered. When to use tables and how to make them accessible when you do use them is also covered in the early part of the book. The middle part of the book covers accessibility for a variety of technologies that only some web sites use providing the information that you need if you are using those technologies. The section at the back covers the current and proposed accessibility guidelines and steps you through what those guidelines actually mean. Some of the guidelines relate to proposed technologies that never actually eventuated or specify how things needed to be done to make pages accesssible in really old browsers that no one uses any more and the book makes it clear how the guidelines actually specified when certain methods would be no longer applicable.

This is an excellent book on how to make any web site more accessible. I do suggest however that reading the book through from start to finish is not the best way of benefitting from this book as reading the book that way it tends to become repetitive and boring. Instead you should start by reading part one and then read the other parts of the book as you find a need.

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This article written by Stephen Chapman, Felgall Pty Ltd.

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