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Is my website compliant with accessibility standards?

Well I suppose to answer this question, we need to define with what standards we are intending to comply. The UK has an equality act which states that business services should be accessible to everyone, irrespective of any disability. Websites are not explicitly mentioned but they are considered to be a business service.

Therefore, your business website should be accessible to everyone. But what does this mean?

What is very clear is that accessibility standards are very unclear

Unfortunately, guidelines are as clear as mud. So I will try and take you through the main points you should be considering.

By the way, if you do not have the time to read on, then just get yourself an AB Publish website. We look after the technical accessibility for you.

One of the first things I will mention is colour contrast. I say this for selfish reasons because I have a condition (an astigmatism) which means it is extremely difficult for me to read something where there is not a marked contrast between the colour of the text and the colour of the background. So always make sure you write with light text on a dark background or dark text on a light background.

There are also some technical details which you must follow. Blind surfers for example, use screen reading technology to view websites. Therefore, if an image is created as a replacement for text simply for style purposes, it must have "alternative" text inserted to explain what the image represents. You can easily do this with all of the images you add to your AB Publish website.

Separate content from layout (it's easy)

Another way in which people with sight difficulties can be helped is to separate the content of your website from its layout. This is something which everyone should be doing now. This is done by styling a website with style sheets (CSS) rather than the old HTML layout tags and attributes. This concept has been around for more than 10 years now so there is no excuse not to do this. If you opt for an AB Publish website then you have no need to worry about this as this has already been done for you in the background of your website.

Astonishingly, if you make your website accessible, you will already be way ahead of some very big businesses as many of them have failed to follow these very simple rules.

What AB Publish can promise you for your website's accessibility

As the legal position is so unclear and we are not lawyers, we cannot give you any absolute guarantees in law. However, an AB Publish website will allow you to show that you have made all reasonable efforts towards full accessibility and this will surely count for something should anyone question you about your website.

Thu 30 June 2011 10:18:53

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