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First Seven Steps to Accessible Websites

Edited by Peter Abrahams, Bloor Research

Creating web sites that are accessible to the widest possible set of users is a journey. It is in fact a journey without an end as developments in web technology both create new accessibility challenges and also opportunities to make the web more easily accessible.

Like any long journey it starts with a single step followed by another and another.

This document suggests seven initial steps that will improve accessibility and by charting the direction make the rest of the journey easier.

The seven steps do not need to be carried out in the order described below. Please read all seven and then start planning the first step. When you have completed the first seven steps you should have:

  • A site that is more accessible
  • An understanding of the benefits of accessibility
  • A view of the following steps
  • A view of the continuing journey

The document concludes with a list of further reading including guides and maps to help you make accessibility an integral part of your website.

The suggested seven steps are:

  1. Quick accessibility check
    Get an estimate of how accessible you site is now.
  2. Publish an Accessibility Policy
    Express your intent to be accessible.
  3. Provide a Contact Us function
    Enable users to tell you easily about accessibility issues on your site.
  4. Add jump to content link
    Simplify user navigation to page content
  5. Ensure tab sequence is logical
    Ensure page navigation is simple
  6. Add alternative text to pictures and links
    Provide necessary information for blind users
  7. Ensure text sizing works
    Allow users to increase text size

These seven steps should significantly improve the accessibility of most web sites. But they are only the first few steps to full conformance with international standards and good accessibility practise.

The seven steps are described in detail in the following chapters.

At the end of the document is a 'Notes to Readers' chapter which has some hints on how to get the most from the document. It is recommended that the reader looks at this chapter before reading the other chapters in detail.

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