Website accessibility requirements for website owners
Web accessibility is at the heart of every website I produce, and designed to conform to regulations set by the Disability Discrimination Act 1995.
It's not a case of political correctness, to me, it's simply common sense to design and develop websites that are legal, and accessible, to the largest possible audience (8 million registered disabled in the UK). If you think this doesn't effect you, then you should follow the multi million dollar lawsuits currently taking place in the US.
The UK Government set a target to have all its websites compliant by 2008, but even today David Cameron's Number 10 site fails the most simple requirements. But as you know there is one rule for them, and another rule for the rest of us. Anyone in the private sector could be open to be sued.
What does website accessibility really mean?
Since May 2005, every page of every site I have produced has been built to W3C requirements. But I don't stop there. I develop practical solutions that work in the real world.
- Text is set at a reasonable size. For clarity, there has to be a high contrast between the type colour and the background.
- Every image has an alt tag to describe it, so you can turn off the pictures and still make sense of the page.
- I use the latest XHTML and CSS code, and use design techniques that render across browsers, platforms and operating systems.
Web designs that cross browsers, platforms and generations
Before I release any site onto the world wide web, we test it to destruction. Website are tested on PCs and Macs, different generations of browser: Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer. This way I can ensure that a web design that looks great on your computer, will look just as good to Bill in Ohio.
Only once it has passed all these tests, does a Northstar site go online.