There is a huge amount of resources available both on the World Wide Web and in books offering information and guidance about building websites. It would be impossible for SAIF to cover all the topics you may need to consider in this supplement. Equally, it is impossible to supply every link to every resource that might prove helpful to your organisation. What we have tried to do in this section is offer a reasonable selection of links that will act as a gateway to other, more specific resources that you may find useful. In most cases this has been done by listing the web address for each resource.
WAI, in co-ordination with organisations around the world, pursues accessibility to the web through five primary areas of work: technology, guidelines, tools, education and outreach, and research and development. Their website offers a vast range of resources that will be helpful whether you are a complete novice or a technical wizard, including accessibility checkers like WAVE and Bobby.
Web consultancy and training organisation specialising in accessible websites. Jim is one of the authors of this document and was the author of the first edition.
The RNIB has a range of very useful guidance notes as part of their See It Right Accessible Websites campaign. They contain lots of advice about building websites that do not exclude visually impaired people.
Although it does not deal specifically with electronic communication, this site has a good links page containing contact details for lots of disability-focused organisations. Particularly helpful if you are looking at the information needs of specific groups.
Understanding websites is a lot easier if you understand some of the most commonly used terms. We recommend you access a free online dictionary like those listed below. These give definitions in plain language for words, phrases and abbreviations that are related to computer and internet technology.
The Web Standards Project aims to improve access to legal and advice information on the internet. This is a joint programme between the London Advice Services Alliance and the Community Legal Service in England. However, it is relevant and useful for organisations in Scotland. The project aims to improve searching and access for visually impaired people, so that all users can more easily locate the information they need.
An online book offering advice and free tutorials for anyone trying to build and/or run a website in an accessible and efficient way. A useful source of support for staff. Published some time ago but still useful.
This is a web style guide written by Jeff Glover, a self-styled website expert. It contains a lot of useful dos and don’ts written in an amusing and accessible way. It also explains lots of technical internet language in layman’s terms.
This website contains lots of fact sheets and other tools mainly aimed at the business sector but relevant to all organisations. Particularly useful topics covered include security, data protection and copyright.
Bulletproof Web Design: Improving Flexibility and Protecting Against Worst-Case Scenarios With XHTML and CSS
Dan Cederholm, 2006, ISBN 0321346939
60 Hot to Touch Accessible Web Design tips – the Tips No Web Developer Can Live Without!
Jim Byrne, 2006, ISBN 978-1-4116-6729-7
Don’t Make Me Think! A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability
Steve Krug, 2000, ISBN 0789723107
Designing Web Usability: The Practice of Simplicity
Jakob Nielsen, 2000, ISBN 156205810X
Designing with Web Standards
Jeffery Zeldman, 2003, ISBN 0735712018
Information Architecture for the World Wide Web
Louis Rosenfeld & Peter Morville, 1997, ISBN 1565922824
Web Accessibility for People with Disabilities
Michael Paciello, 2000, ISBN 1929629087
Constructing Accessible Web Sites
Jim Thatcher et al, 2002, ISBN 1904151000
Web Accessibility: Web Standards and Regulatory Compliance
Jim Thatcher et al, 2006, ISBN 1590596382
Research – eAccessibility of public sector services in the European Union
The Web. Access and Inclusion for Disabled People. A formal investigation conducted by the Disability Rights Commission
2004, ISBN 0 11 703287 5
As we have mentioned before, the World Wide Web is changing and developing at an incredible pace and we would welcome any feedback you have on these or other sites to inform future editions of this supplement.
We would also welcome any feedback you have on this publication. A feedback form is available on our website at www.saifscotland.org.uk or you can email firstname.lastname@example.org
Making Websites Accessible
The Disability Discrimination Act states that you must ensure your online services are accessible to disabled people. To meet the needs of disabled people:
- Comply with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) version 1.0. Find out more at www.w3.org/WAI
- (Web Accessibility Initiative).
- When tendering for a website ensure that accessibility is built-in from the start. SAIF recommends WCAG AA compliance.
- Create a website design that is flexible so that users can change colours, font and font size to meet their individual requirements.
- Give links a meaningful name describing what they link to.
- Add labels to all non-text elements, like photographs and graphics.
- Do regular accessibility checks on your site, e.g. run it through the Cynthia Says accessibility checker at www.cynthiasays.com
- qnvolve disabled people in the planning and testing of your site.
- Get regular and organised feedback from disabled people about the accessibility of your site.
- Provide your staff with disability equality training. A key barrier for disabled people is negative attitudes towards them.
Making Word Documents Accessible
The Disability Discrimination Act states that you must ensure your service information is accessible to disabled people. To meet the needs of disabled people:
- Avoid using small fonts and setting large blocks of text in italics.
- Use styles to add structure to your documents, e.g. use the heading style to create headings rather than just making text look like a heading by using bold.
- Provide alternative labels for all images. To do this, right-click on the image, then select Format Picture. A dialogue box will appear. Select the Web tab and then add the appropriate alternative text.
- Create clear uncluttered pages, with plenty of white space. Use bulleted lists when appropriate as they can be easier to understand than large paragraphs.
- Avoid animated or flashing/blinking text.
- Ensure there is good contrast between elements on the page, e.g. text and background colours.
- Use the built-in table tools when creating columns of text. Don’t use tabs to create tables.
- Use descriptive link text for links, when linking to web pages within your documents.
- Add space around paragraphs using style formatting options rather than using carriage returns. This is particularly important if you intend to convert your Word documents into PDF files.
- If you have embedded sound files, provide a text transcript of the sound file content.