Accessibility guidelines: web

This page introduces W3C resources to support web site accessibility. Separate guidance is available on accessibility of software and hardware.

Many countries have legislation requiring web site accessibility. In the UK, legal action has been taken against web service providers under the Disability Discrimination Act Code of Practice that requires “reasonable adjustments” to make web site services accessible to disabled users.

W3C has a detailed accessibility checklist with 3 priorities:

  1. Basic requirements for some groups to be able to use Web documents.
  2. Significant barriers to accessing Web documents.
  3. Improved access to Web documents.

W3C quick tips to make web sites accessible

  • Images & animations: Use the alt attribute to describe the function of each visual.
  • Image maps. Use the client-side map and text for hotspots.
  • Multimedia. Provide captioning and transcripts of audio, and descriptions of video.
  • Hypertext links. Use text that makes sense when read out of context. For example, avoid "click here."
  • Page organization. Use headings, lists, and consistent structure. Use CSS for layout and style where possible.
  • Graphs & charts. Summarize or use the longdesc attribute.
  • Scripts, applets, & plug-ins. Provide alternative content in case active features are inaccessible or unsupported.
  • Frames. Use the noframes element and meaningful titles.
  • Tables. Make line-by-line reading sensible. Summarize.
  • Check your work. Validate. Use tools, checklist, and guidelines at

    (c) W3C (MIT, INRIA, Keio) 2001/01

Automated checkers such as Bobby are useful to eliminate straightforward errors, but guidelines related to meaning still need manual inspection.

Updated July 2003 by Nigel Bevan and Arlene Kline

©UsabilityNet 2006. Reproduction permitted provided the source is acknowledged.