How Accessible Should Your Web Site Be?

When designing your site for web accessibility try to make it as accessible as possible.

It will help your site comply with the disability law in the United States (a legal requirement for government web sites) plus receive the added benefit of reaching a wider audience and having a site that is easily indexed by the search engines and loads fast.

Here are a couple of tools to check how accessible your web site is:


Visacheck shows how your site will appear to color blind people. It provide a computer simulation of the entire process of human vision.

Approximately 1 in 20 people have color vision deficiency. People with normal vision can easily distinguish between different colors but color blind people can’t. I.e. they can’t tell the difference between red and green colors.

Web pages are hard to read for color blind people because the web designer didn’t think include these design elements.


This is online tool to validate your site for web accessibility. It identifies errors in your content related to Section 508 standards and/or the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). It only validates one web page at a time.


Don’t just follow what those automated accessibility checkers tell you – they’re not good judges of accessibility apart from pointing out gross errors. Your site may pass these checkers but may not be entirely web accessible.

Accessibility is more a common sense approach than ticking boxes.

Here is a web accessibility checklist you can start with:

Don’t bother using access keys they’re actually a hindrance not a help
Don’t bother using tab indexes (unless you’ve got a ridiculously complex layout).
Do put labels on forms
Do have useful alt text on all informational images (use alt=”” on non-informational images)
Do try your site without images – does it still work?
Do try to navigate your site without a mouse
Do see what your site looks like without CSS enabled
Do try to use semantic markup
Do try to use skip links if you can
Do try to listen to your site if you can
Do have a decent amount of contrast between text and background
Don’t use PX or PT etc to size your fonts
Do make sure your site doesn’t break with larger font sizing
Do ensure that your site doesn’t fail completely without JavaScript

Although this list is a good starting point be sure to check your site in Cynthia (Priority 1-3).
then correct all the errors manually.

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