Text Tips

Here are some tips on using text in your site:

  • Minimize Number of Words: Use the minimum number of words to get your message across. As a general rule, you can remove 25-50% of words, without losing anything of value;
  • Default Font Testing: Always test your Web pages using a browser's default settings; font typeface, size, text and link colors;
  • Multiple Font Typefaces: When you set your font typefaces, use three to four options. This way, if your first choice is not available, your second, third or fourth typeface choice can be used by the user's browser. For headings, it's common practice to use a different typeface from the one used for the body text;
  • Variable Font Sizes: Use variable font sizes in your site, so that users can increase the text size in their browser. This is especially useful to low vision users. Many Web designers make the mistake of using fixed font sizes, which disables this feature; and
  • Printer-Friendly Web Pages: Offer a printer-friendly version of your Web pages. This will enable your users to print out a page for easy reading off-line or reference at a later date.

Images

Here are some tips on using images in your Web site.

Set Image Sizes

Always set image sizes in the image tags. There are two advantages to setting image sizes:

  • Increases the speed at which your page renders in web browsers. Images are downloaded, after the page's text content is displayed on the screen. The page will appear to download quicker than it really has; and
  • If graphics are turned off by the user, the alternative text will be visible in the empty image frame.

Alternative Text

Set alternative text in images. There are two advantages to setting alternative text in image tags:

  • If image sizes are set, and the user has turned off graphics, the alternative text will appear in the empty image; and
  • The alternative text will appear in a pop-up window when the cursor hovers over the graphic. Currently, this only works in the Internet Explorer browser.

Optimize Image File Sizes

Optimize image file sizes to help minimize the download time of your Web page and improve the usability of your site.

Color

Here are some tips on using color in your site:

  • Color Deficiency: About 8% of men and 0.04% of women suffer from some form of color deficiency;
  • Where Has the Color Blue Gone?: The older people get, the more difficult it becomes to tell the difference between one shade of blue and another. Small blue text becomes increasingly difficult to read, to the point that the text becomes unreadable. Therefore, don't select blue as your site's text color. Having said that, don't change the convention of blue underlined links. Web users have the option of setting their own text and hyperlinks colors in their browser. Make sure you don't override user preferences for text and link colors, which many Web designers mistakenly do; and
  • Bright Blue and Red Headache: Looking at bright blue and red together can cause a headache-inducing condition called Chromostereopsis. This condition causes the viewer to perceive that one color floating above the other. So, avoid using bright red and blue on the same Web page.

Multimedia

Flash: Macromedia - creators of Flash - offer a Flash Accessibility Kit. The kit includes free example code and guidelines to help you make your Macromedia Flash (SWF) movies accessible to users with disabilities.