Recommendations on accessibility
- Priority 1
- Those that must be done or some people will be unable to access the document.
- Priority 2
- Those that should be done to remove significant barriers to access.
- Priority 3
- Those that may be done to make documents easier to access.
Possible legal implications
From these definitions, it seems likely that a page that failed to meet the Priority 1 recommendations could be considered in breach of the law. It also seems likely that a page that met the Priority 1 and Priority 2 recommendations should meet the definition of
'reasonable effort' (provided, of course, that any accessibility issues not mentioned in those recommendations were promptly fixed if the maintainer of the page or site was informed). What the legal situation of a page that met only the Priority 1 recommendations would be is less clear, and will remain so until there have been some test cases.
Guidelines for meeting the recommendations
The guidelines in this section of the site are designed to help you meet the Priority 1 recommendations and Priority 2 recommendations. Guidelines for meeting the Priority 3 recommendations may be added at a later date. There is also a section on techniques to improve accessibility in non-visual media as these have specific considerations different to those for visual media.
- Guidelines for meeting priority 1 recommendations
- Guidelines for meeting priority 2 recommendations
- Guidelines for non-visual media
If you are making an existing site more accessible
You should fix any Priority 1 issues first, and then move on to fixing Priority 2 issues. Depending on the current levels of accessibility of the site, its size, and whether there is any form of content management or templating in place, you may decide that it is easier to re-design the site entirely.
If you are writing a new site or making a substantial redesign of an existing site.
You should design the site with both Priority 1 and Priority 2 recommendations in mind from the start. Some aspects of the Priority 2 recommendations are difficult to introduce to an existing site without large amounts of work, but can be introduced into a new site with little extra effort.
Meeting Priority 3 recommendations
Generally, introducing measures to comply with these recommendations is relatively simple provided that:
- The site already complies with at least the majority of the Priority 2 recommendations
- The site is based on some form of templating system (either using Dreamweaver templates or server-side scripting).
Many Priority 3 recommendations are straightforward to meet and this should be done. However, we do not recommend the use of AccessKeys, as in most common browsers these can reduce accessibility by interfering with the standard browser keyboard controls. Also,
tabindex should not be used - instead create the logical tab order by ordering the elements correctly in the HTML document.