(i) Suggested Good Practice

Below are given a brief set of guidelines, to assist those who wish to ensure that their sites are as widely accessible as possible. You can also check our pages if you like. This will let you get a feel for what is involved.

These guidelines aren't for a moment meant to cramp web pages into a dismal black-and-grey text format with no images. On the contrary, many attractive web pages exist that conform to these guidelines and are a pleasure to access when an appropriate browsing situation is available: the key factor is that the enhancements are handled in such a way as not to impair access to the information from other web browsing situations.

Since HTML was designed from the start with this principle of "graceful fallback" in mind, this isn't the complex task that it might seem - more a matter of exploiting the strengths of the medium, and knowing where its weaknesses are.

Some Points to Consider

We have prepared an example which shows the use of a 'Client Side Imagemap' and a 'Gracefully Degrading Table'. Note also the liberal use of links, and how use of the ALT text retains the meaning of the images, or helps the non-visual browser, where this is felt to be necessary.

In our example, based on a fictional transport website, we have placed everything in a single web document. In a real life situation, this information would preferably be split into several pages, in order to speed loading online. However, in the offline situation, use of the internal links gives much faster navigation within the page. In some cases it may be useful to offer this single page version as an alternative, to be downloaded in a ZIP archive and used offline, such as has been done with some of the web resources we have linked to.

We have both validated and thoroughly checked these pages in a number of browsers, including Lynx, Netscape, MSIE, Opera, and on several different computer platforms. They were also presented to some of the online utilities such as the 'Web Page Purifier' and 'Bobby'. Some of these give warning messages about potential problems, which the page design has taken due account of.

If you would like to test these pages yourself, please use the links below:

Check our pages

Page KG Validator Delorie Purifier Bobby
index.html: validate at HTML3.2 view as text (HTML2.0) check accessibility
pages/guide.html: validate at HTML3.2 view as text (HTML2.0) check accessibility
pages/imagemap.html: validate at HTML3.2 view as text (HTML2.0) check accessibility
pages/access.html: validate at HTML3.2 view as text (HTML2.0) check accessibility
Now try this with your pages!

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© 1997 A.J. Flavell and I.W. Logan. Last updated: 06 Sep 97 at 2100BST HTML 3.2 Checked!