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Making websites and applications accessible

If you create websites or software applications, find out how to design them so they're accessible to everyone.

 
 


Overview


When you follow accessibility standards, your websites and applications can be accessed by everyone, regardless of physical abilities. In general, accessible websites and applications have:

  • Structural formatting like headings, tables, and lists that allow users to navigate the website or application.
  • Descriptive text that explains pictures, charts, and graphs to users.
  • Layout, design and color that makes the application and content accessible to use and understand.

The principle concepts of website or application accessibility will help you meet the State of Minnesota Accessibility standard. The instructions outlined in the Resource section relate specifically to websites and applications.


Did you know?

Accessibility standards not only help you meet a wider audience, but they also make your solutions:

  • More searchable
  • More interoperable with mobile devices
  • More usable with voice recognition
 
 

Requirements/Design


An accessible website starts with gathering requirements and creating an accessible design. Building accessibility features into your website from the beginning saves time, effort and money. You must also have a general understanding of the users and how they will interact with your website or application. The following links provide tools that can help:

  • Accessibility requirements tracking tool(Excel document)
    This downloadable spreadsheet can be used in all phases of the SDLC process - from Requirements Elicitation to Programming to Quality Assurance testing.

  • W3C’s Web Accessibility Initiative http://www.w3.org/WAI/
    This website provides almost everything you need to know about developing and testing accessibility for websites and applications. 

  • University of Wisconsin Trace Center  http://trace.wisc.edu/world/web  
    Their website "Designing More Usable Web Sites" includes an extensive list of selected links and tools, and information on creating accessible websites and applications.  

  • WebAIM, a non-profit web accessibility organization, provides excellent resources for web desginers, including a cool infographic.

  • W3C: The World Wide Web ConsortiumChecklist of Checkpoints for Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0

 
 

Development/Testing


Incorporate accessibility into all your System Development Life Cycle (SDLC) processes: requirements analysis, design, implement, test and deploy.

Building accessibility into web and application development

WCAG 2.0 Top Ten Check Points webinar Understanding the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0), why and when the guidelines are important, and how to apply them is addressed in the WCAG 2.0 Top Ten Check Points webinar. This webinar provides an introduction to WCAG 2.0 for web application developers and business analysts. (Audio Transcript PDF)

Validators and Testing Tools 

Testing for accessibility along the way can help to identify problems early in the process.  While there are many aspects to accessibility testing and validation, there are also many tools available. Here are some helpful links.

Note: When using these tools, be sure to note carefully what standards (if any) a particular product follows –such as WCAG 1.0 instead of the more recent 2.0. This list does not constitute endorsement of any particular product or service. All tools have free versions available

Plugins and Extensions:

Color and Contrast

Analysis and Reporting

Captioning and Media

Validation Tools

 
 

Resources


Online Training

WCAG 2.0 Top Ten Check Points webinar Understanding the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0), why and when the guidelines are important, and how to apply them is addressed in the WCAG 2.0 Top Ten Check Points webinar. This webinar provides an introduction to WCAG 2.0 for web application developers and business analysts. (Audio Transcript PDF)


Using assistive technologies to test accessibility


Other Organizations in Minnesota