Website dos and don'ts for accessibility

W3C

When designing and building websites, it’s important to follow the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 set out by W3C. This long document covers points that are relevant to designers, developers and content generators. We have created a list of key points that all designers should be considering when creating an accessible website design.

Must DOs and DON’Ts:

DO… provide audio controls for any sound used
DO… make sure any text and images have a contrast ratio of at least 4.5:1
DO… provide the ability to resize text up to 200%
DO… allow users to pause, stop or hide any moving or scrolling content, for example a banner
DO… give pages relevant titles and break up copy with sub headings
DO… provide more than one way to navigate to the same page
DO… make sure the purpose of a link in text can be determined from what it says, e.g. ‘Read more news’ rather than just ‘Read more’
DO… make the navigation consistent so that it’s the same from any page
DO… present functionality in the same way when it’s available on multiple pages

DON’T… provide instructions that rely solely on sensory characteristics, e.g. shape, size, visual location or sound.
DON’T… use colour as the only visual means of conveying information
DON’T… have anything that flashes more than 3 times a second
DON’T… let users submit legal or financial transactions without letting them review and check first, unless they can reverse the submission.

Going a little further:

DO… make sure any text and images have a contrast ratio of at least 7:1
DO… allow users to select the foreground and background colours for blocks of text
DO… make the line height at least 1.5 times the character height and the paragraph spacing at least 1.5 times the line height.
DO… provide a breadcrumb showing the users location within the website

DON’T… use line lengths longer than 80 characters
DON’T… justify text
DON’T… require a horizontal scroll when users have resized the text to 200%

Following these design recommendations will help your website be more accessible to people with disabilities, as well as making it more usable for older individuals and other users in general. The full W3C guidelines give a lot more information and cover what is required from a web development and content writing perspective. View them at: w3.org/TR/WCAG/