Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, What are the four major categories?

If you are familiar with online accessibility and you like and create Web design, chances are you have come across the World Wide Web Consortium’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0. Often referred to as WGAG 2.0, this is a set of standards that has been at the core of goals and efforts to create a more accessible internet since its inception back in 2008. The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines has undergone an array of updates and revisions, WCAG 2.1 update in 2018 being the most notable. However, the core principles staying relatively stable. That being said, we are going to take a closer look at this concept, more specifically, it’s four major categories.

At the heart of Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, standards are four key areas that keep sites usable and accessible for people of all abilities. An accessible site needs to feature perceivable, understandable, robust and operable content. These are, obviously, relatively broad terms, and so, let us break them down and get to see the manner in which they can be put into practice.

1.Perceivable

At the most basic level, people should be able to process information. Info that’s not published in a processable is regarded to as non-accessible. This, in addition to other affordances, implies providing audio for individuals who can’t see, and text for individuals who cannot hear. This does not imply providing audio for every text, but simply making the content consumable by screen readers and other assistive technologies. Apps and sites that need hearing or sight will not pass this test of perceivability.

Simply ask yourself, is there anything that a deaf, blind, color blind or low vision individual wouldn’t be able to perceive.

Understandable

If people can perceive and operate a site, it does not imply that they can comprehend it. Websites that are understandable utilize clear and concise language and ideally offer functionality that’s easy to understand and concise language. If a person takes an action, the action and result connection has to be obvious. Navigation needs to be utilized consistently across a website. The forms have to follow a logical flow and give clear labels. Simply put, there should be enough guidance. This might sound more like usability rather than accessibility, but that is because usable platforms tend to be more accessible.

In this regard, you should ask if your text is clearly written and whether or not the interactions are easy to comprehend.

Operable

Individuals with disabilities need to be able to use sites and apps with an array of tools. Many people with disabilities can’t operate a mouse and so, alternatives such as keyboard-based operations should need to be implemented.

To help people with cognitive disabilities run a site, media and animations need to be controllable, and time limits for doing tasks configurable or generous. More importantly, apps and websites need to be forgiving. Everyone, even those without disabilities, make mistakes. Give instructions, warnings, cancellation options, and even second chances in order to help everyone.

In this regard, you need to ask yourself whether all functions in your site can be done with a keyboard. Can everyone control all interactive aspects of your site, and does it make doing things easier?

Robust

People choose their own mix of tech. As such, sites need to work properly across all browsers, devices, and platforms to account for user needs and personal preference. While you can’t expect a site to support the first version of Internet Explorer, websites shouldn’t dictate the technology that people can utilize. If this was the case, then it would limit access to any non-conforming internet user. Following development standards and conventions is one of the best ways to ascertain robustness. Clean code is way more consumable and robust across or platforms and devices.

David Lopresti

David LoPresti, co-owner of ADA Compliance Professionals, brings years of architectural design and ADA compliance experience to the table. With a mother who has had a life-long disability, he has seen first-hand the complexity and challenges of making a property ADA compliant. This experience has led to him dedicating his life to improving ADA access for businesses across California so they can be enjoyed by all.

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Using CSS to Improve Your Website Design

Have you ever asked yourself what a web page is? In other words, have you ever really thought about its fundamental and basic purpose? Well, there are those who believe that a web page is a visual medium, which is fundamentally pleasing and may contain content or no content that is of interest to that viewer; while others think of it as a virtual document that must have valuable information.

Well, neither are wrong, but these viewpoints are not entirely correct. A web page consists of up to three layers. These are:

  • HTML which is the content. The content is always present, and it is that which the writer intends to communicate to the audience. This material is embedded within XHTML or HTML markup, which defines its structure and semantics.
  • CSS, which is the presentation. This is what defines how the content will appear to those accessing the document. The straight way to which content or web pages would appear is through a regular web browser. This is one of the many possible access methods.
  • JavaScript, which is the behavior. This involves the way a user will interact with the document in real-time.

It is quite clear that Cascading Style Sheets or CSS give you more control over the appearance of a web page, from the viewpoint of a web designer, than of the browser designer or the page viewer. This is something we do a lot with our clients and as can be seen on our own site at https://starfirewebdesign.com – web design Las Vegas.

How CSS Will Help Improve Web Design

CSS is a style language which defines the layout of HTML documents. It can be used to cover fonts, background images, width, height, lines, margins, colors, advanced positions and much more.

  1. One of the best aspects of CSS is that it saves time. What does this mean? It only means that the same sheet can be reused in multiple HTML pages. At the same time, you can define a style for each HTML element as well as apply it on as many web pages as you want.
  2. Because CSS can be used in multiple pages, it will help improve your website’s loading time. This is because it reduces the number of codes used, which means fast loading time.
  3. Making changes can be a challenging task especially if you have used XHTML or HTML tag attributes. However, this task becomes easier if you use CSS codes. What does this translate to? Well, it will make website maintenance easier.
  4. If your website is your source of income, then CSS is what you should use, and this is because of global web standards. Today, HTML attributes are being deprecated, and it is recommended for all website owners to use CSS in all their HTML pages to make the site compatible with future browsers.
  5. Another advantage of using CSS is Offline Browsing. CSS has the ability to store website applications locally through the assistance of offline caching. This benefit will give your web users the ability to view your web page even when they are offline. The cache will also ensure fast loading time and therefore improve your overall user experience and web performance.
  6. Apart from improving user experience, it does offer consistent medium independence and can be supported by the latest browsers.

Danny Ericsen

Danny Ericsen is the owner of Starfire Web Design, a Las Vegas website design agency, offering web development, SEO, and graphic design. Danny enjoys biking, golf, and test driving expensive sports cars. You can contact him at: Starfire Web Design 5552 S Fort Apache Rd #110 Las Vegas NV 89148 (702) 800-4447

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