Web Standards and Accessibility

Posted on 26 September 2002 in Internet, Planet Bods, Web Development (No comments)

Two nights ago I spent part of the evening checking through this website to make sure it was right.

Not right in relation to the content, not right in relation to the way it looked, but right in relation to standards and accessibility.

I'm a great believer in coding websites which meet published web standards. If you do so it means that no matter what web browser you view it in, this site should work properly. The result was the addition of a number of buttons on the homepage:

  • Bobby WorldWide
Approved 508.
  • Valid HTML
4.01!
  • Valid CSS!

Why bother? Because I'm making an effort to make this site work, and hopefully work well for everyone who uses it, be they using Netscape, TV, PDA or a screen reader. or anything else.

HTML.

HTML is like the foundations of the web. Good solid foundations help create a good building that should stay up. Correct HTML means that the site should work in all browsers.

Design and CSS.

Whilst I try to make sure this website works for everyone, it doesn't look the same for everyone. Older browsers, TV or PDA browsers can't cope with some of the things I do to make this site look pretty.

Rather than have a site which looks broken to people viewing the web in a browser which can't display it properly, by using CSS I can ensure that the design isn't shown to browsers that can't display it, and you just get the content.

It might not look as pretty, but you can view it.

Accessibility.

All sorts of people use the web, so this site is designed to be as accessible as possible to people however they view the web. I'm currently working on making this site meet the criteria of the W3C's Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI).

Meeting WAI standards is actually quite hard, and I haven't yet worked out the best way fix the few issues that still remain in this site, but BodsCentral is most of the way there and does meet the US Section 508 Accessibility Standards.

Continued Conformance.

I regularly check the site to try and make sure the three buttons listed above continue to be true. Sometimes I find that by accident, standards compliance has slipped, and once discovered I endevour to fix the problems as quickly as possible.

Should you ever find this site lacking, please let me know. It is not my intention to mislead, but accidents happen and checking cannot be done all the time alas.

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