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Achieving Accessibility (part 2)

Websites constructed by developers who follow W3C website development standards recommendations using HTML (HyperText Markup Language) [] or XHTML (eXtended HTML) are likely to be well on the road to accessibility since the markup (the code used to create site pages) will be rich in structure and appropriate for purpose. The code will likely be semantically correct, in that the elements making up the page will be suitable for a particular structure such as a list of links, a series of definitions or proper section heading titles.

Correct implementation of W3C recommendations is paramount and the cornerstone of accessible development upon which WAI accessibility guidelines are incorporated.

There are 3 levels of accessibility: WAI-A, the minimal requirement, AA and triple-A. Triple-A represents the adoption of all guidelines and is the more difficult to achieve, not least because it demands use of alternate forms of presentation which complement and expand upon website content expressed as text, such as use of images and/or audio supplements.

Webmasters use validation checkers as an aid to markup verification [] and other automated tools to check for accessibility compliance. While accessibility checkers are useful for capturing oversights they are in no way a substitute for a thorough knowledge of WAI guidelines.

Assistive Technologies

A range of technologies both hardware and software has arisen to assist impaired users with website navigation and comprehension. Screen readers (generally for visually impaired users) such as JAWS (Job Access with Speech) [] or Window-Eyes [] integrate with web browsers (usually Internet Explorer) and articulate the written web page. Screen magnifiers, speech recognition, keyboard templates and other assistive technologies offer compensation for physical disabilities - but all rely on accessible web pages to be fully effective for their users.

Article by Sonet Digital a New Media Company that provides interactive web development and contributor to Search and Go special features portal and directory that provides up to the minute information on every subject imaginable. If you need info… Search and Go!

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Achieving accessibility