Accessible website design

I have done a lot of research last night and today about assistive technology, braille displays, and screen readers. I found that a very important part of making technology accessible is insuring that everyone can access your information. I know this seems obvious, however there are several parts that are a little tricky.

First I found a site that will do a color blind analysis of your webpage. This will allow you to check that your color scheme works for people with color blindness and that if people have special settings in their web browser to override website colors your site plays well with them. I am proud to say my site currently passes these tests and am including information about it in my site footer.

The other area is how your site appears in text only browsers. This directly affects screen readers and the ability to read your site via voice synthesis or Braille displays. The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) outline this as well as general accessibility requirements.

WCAG 2.0 Quick Reference List
1.1 Text Alternatives: Provide text alternatives for any non-text content so that it can be changed into other forms people need, such as large print, braille, speech, symbols or simpler language.
1.2 Time-based Media: Provide alternatives for time-based media.
1.3 Adaptable: Create content that can be presented in different ways (for example simpler layout) without losing information or structure.
1.4 Distinguishable: Make it easier for users to see and hear content including separating foreground from background.
2.1 Keyboard Accessible: Make all functionality available from a keyboard.
2.2 Enough Time: Provide users enough time to read and use content.
2.3 Seizures: Do not design content in a way that is known to cause seizures.
2.4 Navigable: Provide ways to help users navigate, find content, and determine where they are.
3.1 Readable: Make text content readable and understandable.
3.2 Predictable: Make Web pages appear and operate in predictable ways.
3.3 Input Assistance: Help users avoid and correct mistakes.
4.1 Compatible: Maximize compatibility with current and future user agents, including assistive technologies.
Conformance Requirements

One tool to help evaluate your sites accessibility is a text-only browser, such as lynx. Here is a picture of this page as seen in lynx.

This page viewed in lynx text-based web browser

The initial tests of my site look good but I plan to insure I can meet as many of the WCAG requirements as I can and encourage others to do so as well. I think the first step to insuring equal access to information is to insure we have formatted our information in the most useful way, not just visually.