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   Your Stories > Stories of interest > Making Websites For
Making Websites For The Disabled

Web design has been one of the fastest growing fields by far over the past 20 years - and as a promising career field shows no signs of slowing down. If you are considering a career in this exciting and lucrative area, it is important to understand the basics of the web design world.

One of the most important aspects of a vast majority of web design jobs is to ensure that the website you are designing will not only be easy to navigate and understand, but will also be accessible to as wide a range of people as possible. This means understanding the basics of designing websites for the disabled. These are some of the fundamentals of accessible website design.

Do Not Rely Solely on Colour

Colour blindness is more common than many people realize. This means design that uses colour and colour combinations to impart important information will not be comprehensible to a sizeable percentage of the population. This is why it is imperative to also use text and/or images to convey info and help users navigate the site. Using colours and images to deliver crucial information also excludes visually impaired users from being able to fully utilize what the site has to offer.

Text Descriptions are Your Friend

Whether you are using colours, images, or other non-text visual material as significant aspects of design of a website, there are a portion of potential users who will need additional information in order to properly navigate the site and have a seamless experience. This is where text descriptions come into play.

Built into HTML is a useful feature known as ALT tags. These tags are used to describe images in text-only browsing often used by people with certain disabilities, and can also be seen by holding the mouse cursor on top of the image.

As useful as ALT tags are in accessible website design, it is also important to remember not to overuse this HTML feature. Visually impaired people often use browsers that read the text of a website out loud - including all of the ALT tags. This is overuse can make for an unwieldy experience, and should only be used for visual information that is necessary to the browsing or navigation experience.

Captioning is Key

There is a reason for the stringent closed captioning laws that are now in place for television equipment and broadcasts, and subtitles are such a common feature on DVDs, Blu-Ray discs, and streaming video. These are all laws and features in place to benefit the hard of hearing.

While website designers are not yet legally compelled to provide captions for embedded audio and video materials, if you are interested in making your website accessible to a much higher percentage of users it is highly advisable to include captions for a site's audio and video.

While there are more issues involved when it comes to accessible website design - all of which are covered in graphic design courses and web design courses - these are some of the most common issues with designing website for the disabled.

Visit Academy of Learning College for more information on career path planning for the disabled, including home inspection courses.

Valeria Stephens is a Copywriter at Higher Education Marketing, a leading Web marketing firm specializing in Google Analytics, Education Lead Generation, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), Mobile SMS Alerts, Social Media Marketing and Pay Per Click Marketing, among other web marketing services and tools.
Valeria Stephens
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