Yesterday we outlined how the new protocols for Cascading Style Sheets (CSS3) will open up a whole world of font to allow organizations and outreach groups opportunity to provide consistent font faces across print and web publication. But having the text presented by fonts, rather than by images of words (Try selecting the logo or the tagline at the very top of ), does more than open up a treasure trove of toys for your design staff. It also opens up your organization’s work to the growing numbers of visually impaired users of the net.
The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has been working on a “ ” for some time in an effort to raise awareness and uses of standards that allow browsers to ‘read’ websites to their constituents. The code the W3C is developing is not all that exotic, though, so making a website compliant need not mean digging deeper into the budget.
But making a website accessible to as many people as possible involves still simpler decisions than use of CSS3 or tags for images. A nice little blog entry from Michelle Shull at SpoonFed Design makes a number of quick points about how easy it is to make a site accessible even by watching color choices (like keeping backgrounds light to allow text to stand out). Clear structure and “grids” of discrete information built on HTML should be part of everyone’s workflow, but they also improve accessibility.
She also laments the Flash-heavy sites that might look cool at first blush but are entirely inaccessible to the computer’s efforts to make them accessible to the blind. She also makes a compelling case for making the site available to as many people as possible is ethically important and just good business.
Next time, we’ll see how all this can get put together as we see what some web design critics have called out as especially good examples of sites for charities and nonprofits. We might also see what can go wrong. Horribly wrong…