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Survey: 97% Of World's Websites Do Not Meet Minimum Accessibility Standards
report by nomensa...
Paul Roberts UK

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3179774 posted 9:51 am on Dec 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

[news.bbc.co.uk...]

Ninety seven percent of websites did not provide even minimum levels of accessibility, a new survey has found.

Accessibility agency Nomensa tested the leading websites in five different sectors across 20 countries

Only three websites, including the British Prime Minister's site, achieved the minimum standards.


 

engine

WebmasterWorld Administrator engine us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month Best Post Of The Month



 
Msg#: 3179774 posted 10:00 am on Dec 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

I like surveys as it draws attention to something. Whether it be some facts on the subject, or be it the organisation that generated them. I always read them with a large pinch of salt, too.

Mark Gristock, marketing director of usability firm Foviance, is unsurprised by the results.

"This is the same results we always get. The guidelines have been in place for seven years but they aren't actually checkpoints so people can interpret them in a variety of ways. What is needed is practical advice about what happens when you build a website.

In any case, when was the last time you checked your site's accessibility?

Paul Roberts UK

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3179774 posted 10:24 am on Dec 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

it doesn't suprise me this finding, there just isn't enough enforcement or even help for webmasters etc on the matter, and the only law here in Britain (part of the DDA) only states "websites should make reasonable adjustments" - and that's it!

I also find the WCAG confusing even on the most basic level of Priority 1 accessibility - point 6.1 of version 1.0 says

6.1 Organize documents so they may be read without style sheets. For example, when an HTML document is rendered without associated style sheets, it must still be possible to read the document.

surely this goes completely against the whole industry movement to use css for layout? rendering a website without stylesheets that it uses for layout would mean bits of the site all over the place.

it looks like for now, we'll just have to keep doing a text-only version of the site as well available through a link in the top left corner.

besides, our main customer base is startups and small businesses, we only design for accessbility if asked to by the client.

i guess everything will be a lot clearer and more up to date when the w3c finally turn wcag 2.0 into a recommendation - v1.0 is already 7 years old!

[edited by: Paul_Roberts_UK at 10:25 am (utc) on Dec. 6, 2006]

abacuss

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3179774 posted 10:41 am on Dec 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

I think it was Matt Cutt who once said that most of the sites does not even adhere to the basic standards.Maybe not so much but maybe it varies around 50%-60%.

appi2

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3179774 posted 11:05 am on Dec 6, 2006 (gmt 0)


surely this goes completely against the whole industry movement to use css for layout? rendering a website without stylesheets that it uses for layout would mean bits of the site all over the place.

If you don't design the site right!

Instead of starting with fluff, why not start with no css. Then add the fluff pretty things and oooh factor. At least then your site should downgrade better. If you can't use something like lynx text browser to access and navigate the site then how do you think Gbot handles it?

My ignorance would be not knowing how a blind/disabled etc person actually does use the net. What browser/extensions they using? At least then I could code for that browser/problem also.

le_gber

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3179774 posted 11:42 am on Dec 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

In any case, when was the last time you checked your site's accessibility?

It was when it was launched 2/3 years ago. But if you build it right, even if you add new content on a regular basis, it should still ahve the same level of accessibility than when you built it.

surely this goes completely against the whole industry movement to use css for layout? rendering a website without stylesheets that it uses for layout would mean bits of the site all over the place.

Actually it would be the exact opposite. If you structure your page properly and use HTML semantically everything should follow the right order in your code - and therefore when you take out the stylesheet.

Imagine:

<div id="navigation"></div>
<div id="maincontent">
<h1></h1>
<h2></h2>
<h2></h2>
<h2></h2>
</div>
<div id="secondarycontent">
<h2></h2>
<h2></h2>
<h2></h2>
</div>
<div id="footer"></div>

It's greatly simplified but, you could have your navigation top, left, or right and it would still look the same without stylesheet. And it would still be structured in a way that is logical.

Plus, I think that the important sentence of guideline 6.1 is:

When content is organized logically, it will be rendered in a meaningful order when style sheets are turned off or not supported.

Logical is the key work here. try to organise your code so that if your page talks about chocolate cakes (hmmmm chocolate cakes!) you have the ingredients listed first and the cooking instructions last.

it looks like for now, we'll just have to keep doing a text-only version of the site as well available through a link in the top left corner.

no, no, no, no, no ... by the way, did I mention NO. I am not picking on you, but it's because of that kind of thinking that web stadards and web accessibility is still lagging behind. You have been provided a tool to do the job, the tool is perfect for that, you just need to spend a bit more time learning how to use it properly. Css and print stylesheets are *perfect* for accessibility issues and should have been the end of text-only versions a long time ago.

besides, our main customer base is startups and small businesses, we only design for accessbility if asked to by the client.

Again, not the right way to think about the problem. I also run a small web design company in the UK, and our customers are also SME's, but for the past 2 years all the websites that we developed have been done using XHTML 1.0 strict and CSS. I admit that we do not always check for color contrast to make sure it passes AA validation, but we use correct code structure <h1>, <p>, <blockquote>, etc..., ems for font sizes, skip links etc...

Sure it did take us a good 6 months to get from table based design to css, but man, what a kick it is to design a site nowadays.

appi2
My ignorance would be not knowing how a blind/disabled etc person actually does use the net. What browser/extensions they using? At least then I could code for that browser/problem also.

First you can download Jaws for free and try to 'listen' to your site.
[freedomscientific.com...]

It's free and allows for a 40 minute use. To have another 40 minute use simply reboot your computer.

Then, have a read through this very interesting paper: [redish.net...]

disclaimer: I am sorry about this post but in the web accessibility industry you have 2 kind of people, those who don't care and think it's a burden and those who are (a bit) passionate about it. Well I guess you know where I stand

Quadrille

WebmasterWorld Senior Member quadrille us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3179774 posted 12:23 pm on Dec 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

in the web accessibility industry you have two kind of people, those who don't care and think it's a burden and those who are (a bit) passionate about it

There's actually a third group between those two:

Those who read threads like these hoping to learn, but are berated by the accessibility lobby, while not actually assisted in meeting the 'minimum standards'. No one even says what these 'minimum standards' are.

Many accessibilty advice websites are so picky that many people give up, rather than do 'the basics'. They seem to demand all or nothing, and not everyone has the tools or skills for 'all'.

The BBC article was actually quite interesting:

*93% failed to provide adequate text descriptions for graphics

But what do they mean by adequate?

*73% relied on JavaScript for important functionality

Piffle; 73% may use js; many of them provide html alternatives

*78% used colours with poor contrast, causing issues for those with colour blindness

Good point; what's way forward?

*98% did not follow industry web standards for the programming code

Not relevant; it's physically impossible to be 100% and look good in every browser, as 98% browsers do not follow the web standards they helped to build.

*87% used pop-ups causing problems for those using screen magnification software

Time to make it a capital offense? I'll pull the lever ;)

Joking asside, there is a problem here, but the hysterical meeja response simply does not help anyone; neither do the software companies; Bill Gates may give trillions to worthy causes, and that's great - but couldn't he find two minutes to send a memo around MS to make software more helpful to designers and webmasters who'd like to do better?

le_gber

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3179774 posted 2:00 pm on Dec 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

I guess your thrid group would be close to the 2nd one as they care enough to be willing to learn.

Many accessibilty advice websites are so picky that many people give up, rather than do 'the basics'. They seem to demand all or nothing, and not everyone has the tools or skills for 'all'.

I am afraid I strongly disagree with this. Accessibility is like SEO in a way. It's the addition of little things that make a site accessible. The basics are:

  • structure your page logically
  • use font sizes that allow for resizing (ie. ems, % and not px or pt)
  • use css
  • give important images a meaningful description
  • don't rely on a particular technology for vital tasks (js, flash, etc...)
  • identify the document language
  • provide skip links
  • make sure your links stand out (do not rely on color but leave them underlined)
  • use meaningful link anchor text (not click here or read more)

    That's the real basics. They're all mentionned in the really easy to read, and easy to understand Dive into accessibility [diveintoaccessibility.org].

    *93% failed to provide adequate text descriptions for graphics
    But what do they mean by adequate?

    Adequate may be using empty alt for non important (decorative) images or using a proper description of the image instead of filling it with keywords :)

    *73% relied on JavaScript for important functionality
    Piffle; 73% may use js; many of them provide html alternatives

    That may be the drop down with no other navigation method

    *78% used colours with poor contrast, causing issues for those with colour blindness
    Good point; what's way forward?

    download a colour contrast analyser and check it out.
    as standalone software: [wat-c.org...]
    as a firefox extension: [juicystudio.com...]

    *98% did not follow industry web standards for the programming code
    Not relevant; it's physically impossible to be 100% and look good in every browser, as 98% browsers do not follow the web standards they helped to build.

    That may be validation and is part of the double-A requirement

    *87% used pop-ups causing problems for those using screen magnification software

    Which is against point 10.1 of the wcag, so technically not accessible.

    At the end of the day it's the same discussion that we have seen here many times - the differenciation between web design as a trade and not. If you are in the web design business, knowing accessibility guidelines and being able to apply the basics to all the sites you create - with CSS and (x)HTML - should be a requirement. The same way you would expect your plumber to know the latest gas fitting regulations, and in our industry, any SEO to know that stuffing the meta tags with keywords will know longer do the job.

  • appi2

    5+ Year Member



     
    Msg#: 3179774 posted 2:05 pm on Dec 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

    Cheers for the link.

    another RNIB (Royal National Institute of the Blind)

    RNIB [rnib.org.uk]

    Quadrille

    WebmasterWorld Senior Member quadrille us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



     
    Msg#: 3179774 posted 2:35 pm on Dec 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

    "Many accessibilty advice websites are so picky that many people give up, rather than do 'the basics'. They seem to demand all or nothing, and not everyone has the tools or skills for 'all'."

    I am afraid I strongly disagree with this. Accessibility is like SEO in a way. It's the addition of little things that make a site accessible.

    I agree that accessibility is like SEO in a way, and that it's the addition of little things that make a site accessible.

    What I said was, Many accessibilty advice websites are so picky that many people give up, rather than do 'the basics'.

    If these supasitecheckers said "do this and you are well on the way" rather than "FAIL - and here's an incomprehensible explanation of several points that probably don't matter"

    ;)

    Don't get me wrong - I'm grateful for the useful pointers you've provided. But the point I was making (as was the BBC!), is that people shouldn't have to come here to get that help; the accessibility folk should be making ALL their sites less hostile, more user-friendly, they should never be rude to visitors who are moving forward, just because they aren't 100%, and they really should should be lobbying where it matters; browser and software companies.

    Wouldn't it be better that most sites were 50% there (and aware of the issues), rather than your own distinction of a few enthusiasts and an ocean of "Not me, mate!" ?

    [edited by: Quadrille at 2:41 pm (utc) on Dec. 6, 2006]

    alfaguru

    5+ Year Member



     
    Msg#: 3179774 posted 3:06 pm on Dec 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

    Site checkers are only really useful when you're fairly clued up on accessibility issues. Since they can only check certain things in a mechanical way they are best regarded as part of the process of developing an accessible site, not as either a rubber stamp or a recipe for making a site accessible.

    They are more like a driving _test_ than a driving lesson. If you want the equivalent of driving lessons then diveintoaccessibility is a good place to start.

    activeco

    10+ Year Member



     
    Msg#: 3179774 posted 4:43 pm on Dec 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

    If you would design a site to be 100% accessible by everyone, it would be horribly ugly one.

    Matt Probert

    WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



     
    Msg#: 3179774 posted 6:38 pm on Dec 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

    Did some one mention advice for beginners?

    If your site works in Lynx, it's accessible.

    So, obtain Lynx (which is free) and check your site.

    People can always choose to have their browser ignore colours suggested by web sites if they find the choice of colours or contrast an issue for them, however, if images convey essential information, then put the same data in an alt "" tag, like when using an image for a title (but you'll notice this if you test in Lynx).

    Matt

    Paul Roberts UK

    5+ Year Member



     
    Msg#: 3179774 posted 10:51 am on Dec 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

    Again, not the right way to think about the problem. I also run a small web design company in the UK, and our customers are also SME's, but for the past 2 years all the websites that we developed have been done using XHTML 1.0 strict and CSS. I admit that we do not always check for color contrast to make sure it passes AA validation, but we use correct code structure <h1>, <p>, <blockquote>, etc..., ems for font sizes, skip links etc...

    Sure it did take us a good 6 months to get from table based design to css, but man, what a kick it is to design a site nowadays.

    i think i've been mis-understood a little bit here. when i said "without css they render all over the place", what I actually mean't was, i use the float:left, and float:right attributes, and when these are removed every element just follows each other, often one below the other - which i guess is still logical organisation - it just looks crap compared to a proper web design!

    i always structure my content as well with h1, h2, and p tags, and I NEVER USE TABLES FOR LAYOUT, i'm a 100% css guy. i also use conditional comments ensuring that our designs display great in ie7, ie6 and firefox thus covering 94% of internet users.

    i still believe that accessibility will be pretty difficult to implement until WCAG 2.0 is approved - at the end of the day we're trying to go by accessibility rules written in 1999 for a technology that's only become widely implemented and browser supported in the last 2 years or so!

    i am going to download the lynx browser to test with now though.

    Paul Roberts UK

    5+ Year Member



     
    Msg#: 3179774 posted 11:44 am on Dec 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

    *update to above*

    well i've downloaded lynx - but god knows how to install it and get it working. i'm a web developer, not a computer programmer who understands ms-dos configuration and batch files! my god. completely baffling.

    if anyone knows of a simple exe installer for this and can pm me a link for it i'd be ever so grateful. until then, looks like i can't test with lynx.

    Quadrille

    WebmasterWorld Senior Member quadrille us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



     
    Msg#: 3179774 posted 12:03 pm on Dec 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

    I NEVER USE TABLES FOR LAYOUT, i'm a 100% css guy.

    I wish I could say the same; I use css more all the time - but I've stopped short at using it for layout; partly because it ain't easy, and partly because browsers are so no compliant, that it's really tough to get your site looking good in all browsers. And I've seen some disasters!

    I wish I could afford to dismiss all IE users - or even all FF users - but I cannot.

    Any clues as to when they'll all conform to the standards they helped to set?

    le_gber

    WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



     
    Msg#: 3179774 posted 1:49 pm on Dec 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

    i think i've been mis-understood a little bit here. when i said "without css they render all over the place", what I actually mean't was, i use the float:left, and float:right attributes, and when these are removed every element just follows each other, often one below the other - which i guess is still logical organisation - it just looks crap compared to a proper web design!

    sorry my mistake :). If it's logical, it's already a long way towards being accessible. As to looking crap, some of the people for whom you designed it that way are blind so they don't care how it looks.

    I wish I could say the same; I use css more all the time - but I've stopped short at using it for layout; partly because it ain't easy, and partly because browsers are so no compliant, that it's really tough to get your site looking good in all browsers. And I've seen some disasters!

    Once you get the box model hack (if needed) right for IE5 and IE5.5 it's pretty much as easy as designing using tables. Anyway, you can run IE5, IE5.5 and IE6 as standalone which allows you to have all 4 (inc IE7) + 1 version of FFox, 1 of Opera, 1 of Netscape and cover 98% of the browser population. You then only need to test it on a Mac using browsercam or browsershot.

    appi2

    5+ Year Member



     
    Msg#: 3179774 posted 2:40 pm on Dec 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

    Paul

    You can install Cygwin with lynx in a 'point and click way'.
    Download Cygwin.

    Just run the setup.exe
    choose a mirror
    then when you get to the page that lists the packages.
    Look for the WEB folder open that select Lynx.
    click next install
    Reboot

    start cgwin
    type
    lynx http://example.com

    of you go.

    If you get it wrong first time just run the setup.exe again.

    PS
    OpenSuse 10.2 out today, more than windows out there ;)

    Paul Roberts UK

    5+ Year Member



     
    Msg#: 3179774 posted 4:49 pm on Dec 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

    many thanks appi, bu le_gber has already pointed me in the direction of an exe version for download - i've got it working thanks :)

    callivert

    WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



     
    Msg#: 3179774 posted 4:57 pm on Dec 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

    many thanks appi, bu le_gber has already pointed me in the direction of an exe version for download - i've got it working thanks :)

    could you share the location of this executable? I was looking for an executable for lynx yesterday to run on Windows XP, and ended up in a link-maze that went nowhere.

    le_gber

    WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



     
    Msg#: 3179774 posted 5:44 pm on Dec 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

    here is a link to the lynx download with win32 files:

    [fdisk.com...]

    The link is half way down the page in the Win32 section.

    Select the file you want - old stable or dev - and unzip it in your Progam Files folder. Put a shortcut on your desktop and you're off.

    Read the help section before trying to browse the web with it, there a lots of goodies in it.

    Hope this helps.

    if you can't wait, start Lynx, press g on your keyboard and enter the url you want to visit ;-)

    DrDoc

    WebmasterWorld Senior Member drdoc us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



     
    Msg#: 3179774 posted 4:25 pm on Dec 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

    *98% did not follow industry web standards for the programming code

    Not relevant; it's physically impossible to be 100% and look good in every browser, as 98% browsers do not follow the web standards they helped to build.

    Incorrect statement. The vast majority of all browsers -- at least the newer ones -- support the most rudimentary standards. More importantly, even if a browser does not support the standards 100%, your site will not break if you code to the standards. Anything else is simply (pardon my bluntness) a lame excuse for not learning the standard and coding by it. True, going to extremes is not going to find support in even the most standards compliant of browsers. But, for the love of peppermint chocolate, at least make sure your site validates. It can never hurt.

    If you would design a site to be 100% accessible by everyone, it would be horribly ugly one.

    Correction needed. It is completely possibly (and, in fact, recommended) to design a site so that it degrades well for everyone. There is a world of difference between "having all the bells and whistles" and simply being "accessible." You can design a site which is accessible to (virtually) everyone without sacrificing your flashy design and high media content for those who can handle it. And it is not even that difficult.

    Quadrille

    WebmasterWorld Senior Member quadrille us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



     
    Msg#: 3179774 posted 11:18 am on Dec 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

    Incorrect statement. The vast majority of all browsers -- at least the newer ones -- support the most rudimentary standards. More importantly, even if a browser does not support the standards 100%, your site will not break if you code to the standards. Anything else is simply (pardon my bluntness) a lame excuse for not learning the standard and coding by it.

    May be incorrect if you are ONLY writing code for blind people, but most of us are not. It is a sad fact of life - like or lump it - that you can followstandards 100% and haveeither IE or FF (or both) make a pigs ear of your site for sighted people; and if you use CSS for layout, it is very, very difficult to make even a fairly simple page look good in one and be even readable in the other.

    I'm no CSS expert, though I know it's the future, but I've seen very experienced css users tearing their hair out trying to get conforming code that looks good (not even excellent!) in both IE and FF.

    THEY are the villains - plus some software companies - but it is the webmasters who try to please all who get in the most trouble. That, sadly, is why so many have the nerve to say "To view this page you need IE" (or FF or whatever). I hate those sites with a passion - but I do understand why the webmasters have opted out of trying to please everyone.

    The problem exists; dismissing it as 'a lame excuse' is neither accurate nor fair. Sorry.

    DrDoc

    WebmasterWorld Senior Member drdoc us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



     
    Msg#: 3179774 posted 8:33 am on Dec 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

    "Standards" and "look exactly the same" are two completely separate and unrelated things.

    Quadrille

    WebmasterWorld Senior Member quadrille us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



     
    Msg#: 3179774 posted 9:33 am on Dec 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

    Please explain that to FF and IE :)

    I'm not talking about looking the same, I am talking about being viewable or not viewable. Looking the same would be nice, but few would ever expect that.

    I've seen correctly set-up css, designed for IE, entirely unreadable in FF, as images and text can overlap or similar. This is not a design error, but a variation in interpretation of agreed standards by different software builders.

    You may never have seen this; I have. It happens. And vice versa too, of course.

    Perhaps it is reasonable to expect web designers to tinker with css within 3 or four browsers until they can find a compromise that works. I don't happen to think so, so I will continue with tables as the 'safe' layout option. That does not mean I wouldn't much prefer to use css; I would. But I don't think it's ready yet.

    Many others will build for one or another browser and effectively tell everyone else to 'go hang'. I depracate that, but I fully understand their frustration and the lack of support they are getting from the 'experts'.

    I suspect this debate is beginning to get circular, so I'll drop out now: But, as I said above, I believe that universally blaming webmasters / designers for non-compliant pages is neither fair, reasonable, constructive or useful.

    If webmasters felt supported, rather than blamed for not being perfect, I suspect most would try harder. ;)

    DrDoc

    WebmasterWorld Senior Member drdoc us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



     
    Msg#: 3179774 posted 5:55 pm on Dec 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

    Let me take a step back and explain further what I mean.

    By "most rudimentary standards" I mean, first and foremost, HTML and the normal uses thereof. Yes, even with plain ol' HTML there are some differences in rendering and a few elements which are not supported. But at least you can very easily find a set of HTML elements which do exactly what you expect them to do in nearly all browsers, while at the same time also fulfilling the purpose behind using those HTML elements in the first place.

    Now, moving beyond that point ... The further we move, the less browser support we will find. Some of the lacking support is certainly tied to the fact that virtually no one uses a particular element/property/whatever, and that the implementation thereof is not only difficult, but thereby also hard to justify.

    That being said, when we look at things like CSS ... all the normal browsers still support "the most rudimentary standards". If you say "font: 15px 'Times New Roman';" -- by golly, you are getting a 15px Times New Roman font. Likewise, if you say "color: red;" the text will be red! I understand (and agree) that styling a page is certainly much more involved than that. But I also know from personal experience and from what others have accomplished that it is possible (and I would even go as far as saying "reasonably doable") to create even the most stunning designs that look the same in all browsers.

    Granted, there are differences between browsers. However, the differences as such is not the problem. Understanding the differences are. (Note: not just _knowing_ about them, but _understanding_ them.) In certain instances I'm not even sure I can blame the browser makers. The standards are vague (and even contradictory) at times. There are times when there is room left for differing interpretations of a given rule.

    Now, to summarize ... I completely agree with you when you express how painful it can be when browsers do not seem to obey what has been established as a "standard" (to which they have even agreed) for 10 years now! In your case ... I don't think you need an excuse to stick to a table based layout. If that's what suits you best, then that's fine.

    The important point, and what I want everyone to take away from reading this thread, is: regardless of how you code, and regardless of whether you use plain ol' HTML or brave the CSS winds, stick to the standards. Yes, you may have to become creative within the boundaries of said standard(s), but do not stray outside them. You will have greater success in your achievement by sticking to the standards than not. Venturing into the gray areas of non-standard/proprietary/ad-hoc coding is only going to magnify the browser differences. If you want your site to look reasonably the same in all browsers, while at the same time being usable and accessible, start by coding to the standards. Then do whatever necessary tweaking you need (still _within_ the boundaries of the subset of standards you have chosen to work with) to reach the desired end result.

    Doable? Certainly! If you haven't already, take a trip to CSS Zen Garden [csszengarden.com] for some enlightenment.

    activeco

    10+ Year Member



     
    Msg#: 3179774 posted 10:27 pm on Dec 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

    If you want your site to look reasonably the same in all browsers, while at the same time being usable and accessible, start by coding to the standards.

    Not exactly.
    You can make you coding perfectly validated and non-braking of any standard, yet it doesn't have to be accessible.

    For example from the OP (BBC) link:
    A further 73% failed to make the grade because of their reliance on JavaScript for some of the website's functionality. JavaScript does not work with some screen readers used by those with impaired vision.

    As I said, you could probably achieve it (very high accessibility), but at the high aesthetics/funcionality cost. The choice is yours.
    (BTW, I don't use js at all, the quote is just used here for making the point.)

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