When we speak of a web site’s accessibility, we are primarily referring to it’s accessibility to various user agents, such as desktop browsers, voice browsers, mobile phones and others. Often, people with disabilities, such as the hearing or visually impaired, will use alternate hardware and/or software in order to obtain data from the World Wide Web.

While there are obvious ethical reasons for web developers to adhere to a high standard of accessibilty for the web, accessibilty refers not only to the disabled, or to the various user agents, but also to a few very important visitors to your website. Can you guess who these VIP web surfers are? Here’s a hint: Begins with ‘R’ and ends with ‘obots’ ! That’s right, the more accessible a website is to different user agents, the more the content of the site is accessible to your friendly neighbood search engine spider.

Below is a list of guidelines published by the Web Accessibility Initiative


  1. Provide equivalent alternatives to auditory and visual content.
  2. Don’t rely on color alone.
  3. Use markup and style sheets and do so properly.
  4. Clarify natural language usage
  5. Create tables that transform gracefully.
  6. Ensure that pages featuring new technologies transform gracefully.
  7. Ensure user control of time-sensitive content changes.
  8. Ensure direct accessibility of embedded user interfaces.
  9. Design for device-independence.
  10. Use interim solutions.
  11. Use W3C technologies and guidelines.
  12. Provide context and orientation information.
  13. Provide clear navigation mechanisms.

Next week I’ll explain each checkpoint in detail, as well as how to implement them.

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