Making your web Pages Friendly to People with Disabilities
Did you know that approximately 20 percent of all Website users have some form of disability?
Making your site friendly for all is a matter of courtesy, is good business practice, and is not hard, explains Robert Roberts, a master SEO who owns the SEO Toolbox
In fact, Roberts be certain of that Web accessibility issues are so important that he’s remained having monthly chat sessions on the subject for students at the Academy of Web SpecialistsHe’s also created a special web site section of his Web site that’s devoted to accessibility issues seotoolbox com htmlchat accessibility
Roberts states that disabilities can be anything from simple color blindness to more simple severe disabilities.
The Use of Alt Text to Solve Accessibility Issues.
Let start with image alt tags. You can use the alt tag to your benefit, not just for only SEO purposes. The alt description tell your website visitors with assistive technologies what the image is about
The issue of lots of clear images meant to be used as insertions in layouts. Should you use an alt tag for every one of those? Yes, in a sense you will use what is called the Null Alt, meaning an empty alt tag, like this alt=””. Notice that there is no space between the quotes, which means that assistive devices will avoid the image and not try to explain it. But if you do not use it, makes devices show a blank where the image would be or cause other display problems.
The alt tag for navigation images is serious. Essentially, you should use text navigation wherever is needed possible as good SEO’s, but there are times when the layout uses buttons, which brings up another issue that of navigation preceding content. u may also like Things a website Newbie should know to save money
Solving the Problem of Navigation Preceding Content
Roberts continues, when a visitors using an assistive device opens a Web page, he or she is usually welcomed by lots of navigation before getting to the text content. Also, an assistive device like a screen reader will read ALL of the navigation every single time. One solution is to add a skip navigation link that allows the person to jump to the page text content. This container in the form of a small hidden clear image linked to an anchor tag. u may like Making your web Pages Friendly to People with Disabilities
If you would like to see an example, take a look at the source code for any page at SEO Toolboxthe logo at the top of the web page is hyperlinked to the menu, because the menu markup is reallyat the bottom of the HTML code. Allow u to use this strategy with any assistive device or in a text browser alike Lynx.
Why is Accessibility Issues Are So Important These Days
One of the reasons all of this is so vital, says Roberts, is because of a lawsuit in progress that looks like it may get to the Supreme Court. A blind man in Florida is suing Southwest Airlines because he is unable to complete normal transactions on their Website. check out how to create high quality website
By means of explanation, the Americans with Disabilities Act provides provisions on the accessibility of public housings to the disabled, and this is the Act that is being referenced in the case.
The complainants in the case claim that Congress wrote the ADA so broadly that the Internet is covered, meaning that it applies to Internet Websites just as it does to brick and mortar facilities like movie theaters and section stores.’
The defendants Southwest Airlines and American Airlines have taken the position that Congress never meant to include the Internet, because cyberspace was in its infancy at the time the law was written. So, the argument is whether a Web site is a public accommodation under Title III of the ADA. But continues Roberts, there is a precedent that will surely effect the outcome. In Australia, a similar suit was brought a couple of years ago by a blind person against the Olympic Committee because he could not buy tickets online. The suit resulted in a win for him a $20,000 damage settlement. how to create web site
What all this means is that sooner or later, any Internet web site offering goods and services will have to comply with accessibility standards.
In Roberts accessibility section he’s placed a link to the lawsuit, if you like to learn more.
What if you have an image that carries information, such as a pie chart, graph, or schedule? A simple alt tag description is not sufficient to carry that information adequately. Roberts explains a work around for this problem:
There are a couple of some things you can do, with one being right in the tag itself you can use the longdesc element. The longdesc is normally a link to another page where you can lay out the information in text format.The problem with the longdesc attribute is that it is not widely supported by assistive technology. As a result, an another convention is suggested, using a Direct Link. This is a text link placed immediately after the image. It is a link to the same expressive page contained in the longdesc attribute. This way, you are sure that it cannot missed. website design guidelines and tips
Some of this Accessibility Solutions Are Actually Beneficial from an SEO Position.
Since Search Engine Marketers frequently use alt text as an extra spot to place keywords, can it still be used in that manner?
Keep in mind that it must not be only for keywords, because it really is an assistive assistance. What I’ve done is something like this keyword link to description page’ explains Roberts.
Roberts continues, a link to a more informative text explanation of a pie chart or whatever can only add to search engine relevancy because you can make the additional page focus on a keyword. Accessibility also put on to things like WAP, handheld devices, and telephonic devices.
People want to see what your information is and how to get to it. The issue of tables is vital not only because of accessibility but because it will actually be easier for search engines to get just about in them. There is a brief example of this on the regular SEO Toolbox site. There is more complete information, with two examples, at: seotoolbox tables_layout
After all Roberts continues, which do you reflect will be better for relevancy? If a spider must wade through yards of code before getting to your text content, or if the spider can see your content first thing? The answer is pretty obvious.
If you are not using Lynx, Roberts recommends adding it as part of your Web site development arsenal for seeing how your pages look in a variety of browsers. lynx browser
For More Information
According to Roberts, one of the greatest books on the topic of accessibility is Constructing Accessible Websites by Jim Thatcher. The book just knockout the shelves and covers what you need to know in an efficient, easy tounderstand manner.
And, be sure to keep a close look on Robert’s accessibility section of the SEO ToolboxHe will be adding more information to the section as he conducts chat sessions at the Academy.