Web Content Accessibility
Visual Impairments and Our Website
When people think of visual disabilities and the issues created for both the disabled user and the website developer they most often think in terms of:
- blindness - full or partial impairments.
- low-vision - impaired vision (damaged, diseased, or aged eyes).
- color-blindness - up to 10% of the world's population experiences some form of color vision deficiency.
What do we do on our website to address these issues? While the solutions for each may be somewhat different,
overall we use the following methods/solutions:
- Our pages contain "Skip to Main Content" (Skip Navigation) links. Anyone that visits one of our Web pages while utilizing a screen reader or audio browser should initially be presented with the ability to skip past our upper page links directly to the main content for that page. Users should not have to endure repetitive navigation links on each page and should save tremendous time and effort as they browse for links or information that is truly important to them.
- We do our best to always supply appropriate alternative text for images that screen readers or audio browsers can utilize.
- Users are able to resize text in their browser as they deem necessary (and as allowed for by their specific browser).
- We try to always have spreadsheet data displayed in HTML tables, not graphics. For charts or other typically graphically-displayed data, we usually provide long image descriptions or nearby text/links to alternative (textual) versions of the same data.
- In general, our web pages are organized such that page elements can be read without CSS stylesheets and in a logical order (even with PDAs or cell phones). We use CSS layouts and not page layouts that use HTML tables. This also aids sighted users and provides for cleaner printed pages as well.
- We strive to use higher contrast separations between text and background colors in our Web applications and Web page designs (low-vision, damaged, or aged eyes require good contrast between page elements).
- We strive to avoid the use of framed page contents all together. Frames can cause issues for navigating, viewing, and printing of web pages and their contents. Some Web applications that we use are produced by third-party developers over which we have very little or no control — these applications may utilize frames but we try to provide alternative means of viewing where possible.
- When using image maps, we use client-side mapping and provide alternative identification for mapped (linked) areas of the graphic, while often providing nearby textual links to the same linked destinations.
- We analyze and use various tools to make sure charts and presentation graphics display proper content and information even for those with visual color deficiencies (color blindness).
- If we present information by way of a visual displayed presentation (PowerPoint, Flash, etc.), we also try to provide alternative sources for the same information or links to HTML conversion processes (for PDF files primarily).
- We are working to "design in" keyboard shortcuts for many of the navigational features normally accessed in a visual manner.
- There are many additional solutions we use as well but the previous elements in this list cover most of the basic ones. If you need more information please feel free to contact us.