You can test the accessibility of your websites by carrying out a few simple checks by changing the settings on your computer.
• Turn off the graphics
In IE 6, select Tools>Internet Options and click on "Advanced". Scroll down the list to "Multimedia". Uncheck "Show pictures" and check "Show image download placeholders". Do all the images have "alt" tags?
• In IE 6, select Tools>Internet Options and click on "Advanced". Under the "Accessibility" section, check "Always expand ALT text for images". Does this cause your page to scroll sideways? If so, the page may cause some screen readers to fail as they can only read what is within the screen boundaries.
• Unplug the mouse
Can you navigate using tab and enter keys only?
• Turn off sounds
Switch off the speakers and navigate the site. Are you missing information ?
• Turn off style sheets
From the browser select Tools>Internet Options and click on the "Accessibility" button. See section on "Customising Web Pages" for detailed instructions.
• Change the style sheet
See "Customising Web Pages".
• Check pages have sufficient colour contrast
Open the page in a web browser and hit the "print screen" button. Paste the image into a graphics editor and change the colour to greyscale. Are all page elements clearly visible?
• Turn off scripts, applets and other programs
• Use the largest and smallest fonts
In the browser window select View>Font and choose different sizes to see if the text size can be scaled up and down.
• Resize the browser window
Drag the edge of the page inwards with the mouse. How narrow can the page get before a horizontal scroll bar appears? You can also try changing the screen resolution in the "Display panel". Set it to 640x480 and see whether all the element display correctly without causing the page to scroll sideways.
Try running some validation software on your website:
You can download the programme from http://bobby.watchfire.com/bobby/html/en/index.jsp or you can type in the URL for each web page and the site will produce a report. If the report does not show any police helmets then the web page is reasonably accessible. However, Bobby is limited in what it can report and you will be required to do further manual checks. You must have a valid "doctype" statement on the page before you use Bobby. (See "How to Create Accessible Web Pages" section and the related "Web Standards" site at http://www.lancs.ac.uk/fss/resources/standards).
http://www2.imagiware.com/RxHTML/ will report on web page access issues and also indicate which browsers will have difficulty interpreting a page.
Run your webpages through a text reading browser such as Lynx. Check to see that all the information can be read and appears in the correct order. Download from: http://www.delorie.com/web/lynxview.html
Turn off the monitor and run the website through a screen reader.
Lancaster University Library has Jaws screen reading software
installed on a computer in the downstairs room equipped for disabled students.
Take care with spelling. Expect some interesting results for acronyms and
Is your website written in plain English - this will assist non-native speakers, those born deaf and those with learning difficulties.
Use clear headings and a consistent style
Help users skim to important information by writing clear headings with contrasting
colour. Use "white space" around the text. Provide a glossary where