Web Accessibility Best Practices
The HTML Best Practices are designed to give web developers the markup techniques they need to make
web resources functionally accessible to people with disabilities and comply with the Illinois Information Technology Accessibility Act (IITAA) Web Accessibility Standards,
Section 508 Information Technology Accessibility Standards and the W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.
The best practices development are based on the following principles:
- Benefits to people with disabilities
- Benefits to web developers
- Benefits to all users
- Support for automated testing
Moving Toward Accessible Design
The accessible repair approach commonly taken to improve the accessibility of web resources often results in web resources becoming more “technically accessible” but still remaining functionally unusable by many people with disabilities.
The Best Practices avoid this problem by focusing on the functional requirements that improve access to all users, including people with disabilities.
They are inspired by the needs of people with disabilities but are designed to give all users more options and control when accessing web resources and support the interoperability concepts of the web.
In accessible design approach, less assumptions are made about what technologies will be used to access a web resource and emphasis is placed on separating content from styling and creating semantically meaningful markup. This provides all users with more options to use of a broader range of technologies and provide users with the ability to restyle information for their own needs, including people with disabilities.
Rule Development Principles
The following principles are used in determining whether a rule will be included in the web accessibility best practices.
- Support web accessibility best practices to ensure web resources are functionally accessible to people with disabilities.
- Support web standards to make it easier for web developers to create and maintain web sites.
- Support accessibility guidelines like the Illinois Information Technology Accessibility Act.
- Reliability of a rule to detect an accessibility problem (in order to avoid identifying potentially accessible markup as inaccessible).
- Avoid including rules that encourage misuse of markup to circumvent accessibility requirements which reduces accessibility of a web resources.
- Avoid including rules that suppport the use of non-best practices coding practices, even though the markup is considered accessible.
- If the rule a high priority for developer implementation, the rule set should be as small as possible to focus developer attention on the most important accessibility issues. The number of rules that are evaluated to “check” will be kept to a minimum.
Rule Evaluation Definitions
Coding patterns can be assigned the following labels for purposes of evaluation. The labels are based on the reliability of the coding pattern to identify known and possible accessibility problems.
- Coding practices that support web accessibility best practices for improving the functional accessibility of web resources are found.
- Coding practices that support the implementation of the features W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, Federal Section 508 Web Accessibility Standards and Illinois Information Technology Accessibility Act are found.
- Coding practices that are known to cause accessibility problems are not found.
- Coding practices that support the implementation of the web accessibility best practices to support accessibility guidelines and standards are not found.
- Coding practices that are known to cause accessibility problems have been found.
- Coding practices that are known to improve accessibility but are not directly required by the Illinois Information Technology Accessibility Act.
- Coding practices are available to the developer to improve accessibility to pass the requirement and make their web pages more standards compliant.
- Coding practice may be an accessibility problem, but cannot be determined through analysis of markup alone. Manual tests needs to be performed to verify accessibility of the markup.
- A coding practice requirement for accessibility may be outdated or there is not a consensus that the requirement is currently a web accessibility best practice.
Not Applicable (NA)
- The page does not contain markup related to the rule and the markup is not required for accessibility. For example, when images are not used in a web page, the rules for image text equivalents do not apply to the page.