Creating Accessible Websites

Getting Started

Here are a few "techie" things to get started. These features should be included on each page of your website.


Templates

Try to use templates to create pages wherever possible. If you create pages based on a template that you know is accessible it follows that the rest of the website will be accessible so you need only concentrate on the unique page content. If you find errors later, updating becomes far easier.

Dreamweaver users can contact Alison Sharman for accessible templates and style sheets.


Doctype Statements

You should try to write HTML code that complies to the standards set by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). This will not only assist your disabled users but will also also improve the way your pages display across a greater variety of browsers and technologies.

Further details can be found at: http://www.lancs.ac.uk/fss/resources/standards

Ideally pages should comply to HTML "strict" but this is only possible if you know how to use Cascading Style Sheets (CSS). If you only write web pages occasionally you should try to make your web pages to comply to "transitional".

Apply the appropriate doctype definition by typing in the either of the statements below - right at the top of the page above the <HTML> tag:

HTML Strict:

<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01//EN"
"http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/strict.dtd">

or:

HTML Transitional

<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN"
"http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/loose.dtd">

This statement should be present on each page so if you are using templates, make sure it is included.


Language Definition

Define the natural language of your website as English by altering the <HTML> tag as shown:

<HTML Lang="en">

Define any subsequent language changes as they occur in the page using the <SPAN> tag.

e.g. <SPAN lang="Fr">Bonjour</SPAN>

The complete list of language codes can be found at: http://xml.coverpages.org/iso639a.html (scroll down the page!)


Netscape Resize Fix

Dreamweaver users should apply the Netscape Resize Fix which will add some JavaScript that will force Netscape to display the page correctly if the user tries to resize the window. From the main menu select Command>Add/Remove Netscape Resize Fix and click on "add".

Make sure that the script is defined correctly (Dreamweaver's code won't validate to HTML strict) and it should read:

<script type="text/JavaScript">

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