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30 steps to a more accessible website

Introduction

This guide will answer two questions:

  1. “Why should I make my website more accessible?” If you are not responsible for a website or some part of it, then this guide is not for you.
  2. “How can I make my website more accessible?” If you are not convinced by the first answer, you won't be interested in the second.

To answer the first question, we will present character sketches of five people: Jackie, Michael, Bill, Lillian, and Marcus. These people have several things in common:

  • They have a combination of physical, mental and technological disabilities which make it more difficult to use the internet.
  • Although fictitious, they all represent real people with disabilities, and they use the internet in ways that real people with disabilities use the internet.
  • They all have difficulty reading your website.

To answer the second question, we will present 25 tips you can immediately apply to your own website to make it more accessible.

In many cases, the University's tool for web publishing, SiteBuilder, makes it simple to comply with the tips. We note how this is done and any special points SiteBuilder users need to be aware of. However, you can implement all the tips regardless of the tools you use to publish web content.

Each tip will focus on a single concept, explain the reasoning behind it and show who will benefit once you implement it. This is why the character sketches come first. They change the tone of the first question from “Why should I bother?” to “Who benefits?” Answer: “Marcus benefits.” “How does Marcus benefit?” “Well, let's look at that…” And so on.

You'll need some HTML expertise to use this guide but you don't need to be an HTML wizard. You don't need to radically redesign your website from scratch either. This is about taking what you have and making it better in small but important ways. It will benefit people like Jackie, Michael, Bill, Lillian and Marcus.

Contents | Step 1: Introducing Jackie »

This guide is adapted from Dive Into Accessibility by Mark Pilgrim and is shared with the GNU Free Documentation License v1.1