1. Design for device-independence.
Your page should be navigable via either a mouse,
keyboard, by voice or by a head wand. Items which
only appear during a mouse-over are generally inaccessible
to people using screen readers. Generally speaking,
any page which can be navigated via the keyboard
only can also be navigated by voice and by anyone
using a screen reader.
2. Ensure user control of time-sensitive
Do not use automatic client-side redirection or refreshing.
If you must use automatic refreshing, provide ample
time between refreshes (a general guideline is 20
seconds for every line of text. Even better would
be to include a button that allows one to disable
or turn off automatic refreshing and redirection.
Screen readers are unable to read moving text. Try
to avoid using the <blink> or <marquee> tags
at all costs, but especially between 2 and 55 times
per second as this can induce seizures in users with
epilepsy or other seizure disorders. If motion is
crucial to your page, you need to allow a user to
easily stop the motion or skip it altogether.
3. Provide mechanisms to help users find
content, orient themselves within it, and navigate through
Such mechanisms may include site specific search
engines, site outlines, tree diagrams, and the use
of proper HTML techniques such as tagging elements
as tables, headers, lists and forms. When using tables, title each frame to facilitate navigation and describe the frame and their relationship to the other frames in the table if it is not readily apparent.
Avoid ambiguous navigation tags such as: "Click here", "More info", or "Skip intro". Wherever possible, use a "title" attribute to further clarify the destination of a link.
It is also helpful to allow users to skip redundant navigation links (i.e. identical links that appear at the top of every subpage). While a visual user can simply skip over these links, a person using a screen reader must tab through each link before they can access content.
One technique is to make an anchor at the start of your content:
Then make the first link on the page a link
to this anchor. This page can be white on white if needed
to preserve graphical design issues:
<a href="#content">Skip to
Any links which use the same text should go
to the same page (i.e. "Link to Our Home Page" or "Link
to Email Us").
Provide a means to skip over ASCII art and calendars.
4. Use interim solutions.
The following guidelines will change as adaptive
technology enables the user to override certain
Web page features which adaptive technology users
might find problematic:
Do not use pop-up windows. They inhibit the ability
of screen readers to read the desired active screen.
Use a non-link item between links when listing links
in a row:
Weather | People | Find | Job
5. Use W3C technologies and guidelines.
Use accessible technology specified by W3C such as
HTML and CSS while avoiding PDF and Shockwave which
is not as readily accessible. When utilizing PDF
documents provide an alternative HTML page wherever
possible. Alternatively, PDF documents may be used
PROVIDED they meet the accessible PDF guidelines
Text only Web pages should be used ONLY as a last
resort, as they are invariably not updated with the
same frequency and regularity as the main graphical