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How Can I Make My Web Site Accessible?

  1. Step One:
    Learn and follow established accessibility guidelines and standards. The W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 , level AA, serve as the Web accessibility standards for the University of Minnesota.
  2. Step Two:
    Best practice is to validate your HTML and CSS code to be sure that it is error-free and complies with W3C standards. It is important to use the HTML validator to create documents that are parsible so that user agents, including assistive technologies, can accurately interpret and parse content. Some tools that can help:
  3. Step Three:
    Evaluate the pages in your site with accessibility tools. Here are some tools that can help:
    • WAVE - Shows your original page, with icons and indicators revealing accessibility problems and features. It requires a basic understanding of accessibility but it also provides explanations of what things mean and teaches along the way.
    • HiSoftware Compliance Sheriff - Disability Services has purchased HiSoftware Compliance Sheriff application site license for use by the University of Minnesota Web community. The software aids in identifying accessibility issues, provides information on the importance of accessibility features, provides resources for understanding and resolving accessibility issues, and highlights accessibility issues in both the rendered view and the source code.
    • A graphical user interface (GUI) browser (such as Firefox, Internet Explorer or Chrome) - These can be helpful for accessibility evaluation also. Examine your pages while adjusting the browser settings.
      • Turn off images then make sure that the information is presented in an appropriate sequence relative to the visual presentation on the GUI site.
      • Turn off the sound then make sure audio content is still available through text equivalents.
      • Turn off scripting then make sure that pages are still functional.
      • Change the font size (larger and smaller) in the browser, and observe whether the page is still readable.
      • Change the display color to black and white (or print out the page on a black and white printer) and observe whether color contrast is adequate.
      • Put away the mouse and tab through the links and form controls on a page, making sure that you can access all links and form controls, and that the links clearly indicate what they lead to.
    • Web Developer Extension for Firefox - It adds a menu and a toolbar to the browser with numerous web developer tools.
    • Luminosity Contrast Ratio Main Colour Contrast Analyser - Tools by Gez Lemon for evaluating color contrast. These are useful in that you don't need to make a judgment call to decide which colors to examine, and you can choose between the luminosity algorithm suggested for WCAG 2, the original AERT algorithm suggested for WCAG 1, or both.

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