CIC Association

Serving Community Enterprise

Accessability is it that important?

Website Accessability Is key when planning websites as people use all different ways of accessing your creation.

Some of these ways, but by no means all, are:

Changing the default settings in a web browser which can change the colour of the background and text as well as size and spacing of letters lines and words.

The use of screen readers which reads the text out that appears on the web page. Windows comes with a screen reader but it is very limited. The one thing it has in common with all other screen readers is the computerised voice it produces is very flat and conveys words but not any sort of intonation or emotion.

Some people have others read the content to them and describe what is there.

When writing your website, you cannot cover, every possible requirement - but you can (and should) take some basic steps to ensure your site as accessible as possible. So first tip, use brackets, hyphens and other symbols only when needed. Here is why. Let’s consider the first sentence in this paragraph. How would a screen reader render that sentence?

‘When wry ting your web site comma you can not cover comma every poss ib ul re qui er ment hy phen but you can o pen Brack et and should close brack et take some bay sic steps to en sure your site as ack ses ib ul as poss ib ul full stop’

That is how the basic windows narrator reader renders that first sentence, phonetically in a single monotone voice. It makes it very much harder to understand, it is not so bad without the hyphone or brackets so use them sparingly.

Give people the option of adjusting the text size on your sight. You can find a lot of java script text resizers for free try them and see what fits your site. I have a simple script for ASP.NET websites which also remembers from page to page your chosen text size.

Use high contrast background/text colouring for all text and avoid Red/Green background/foreground combinations as this is the most common form of colour dysfunction.

You might want to check out and you can test your own website here

Coming next web page structure all sites fall into one of a limited number of categories from a structure point of view. Some pointers to using the right page structure for your site.

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Comment by John Mulkerrin on June 28, 2010 at 18:02
Steve- just thinking, you could package these into pdf's and have available as a basic reading set to newbies?


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