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We worked to make the glaucoma.org website as accessible as possible for all audiences, including those with visual impairments or other disabilities.
It is our goal to create a model of usable and accessible design for the elderly and the visually impaired.
As Mary Francis Theofanos indicates in Helping low-vision and other users with web sites that meet their needs: is one site for all feasible?:
The needs of low-vision users are too diverse for simple solutions...No one solution, in terms of what colors to use, what type size to use, what screen layout to use, would meet the needs of all the low-vision users we worked with.
Overall, we found that, with a few very specific additions, good design practices recommended for accessibility are simply good design principles, more strenuously worded. This is borne out by a Fidelity Investments study that showed design modifications made to accommodate the needs of older adults improved usability for all users.
Our Design Standard
We designed to meet the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0, which is a World Wide Web Consortium Recommendation dated December 11, 2008.
The following are some of the key guidelines we adopted from this standard, as well as other useful guidelines from around the Web.
- Make one accessible version of a website, rather than two (or more) separate sites that need to be maintained. Studies show that users have learned not to trust secondary versions.
- Make the site structure clear, consistent, and obvious.
- Keep everything as simple as possible
- Write for the web in short, clear sentences, and always lead with the most specific information. Clearly label each section.
- Use the most concise and descriptive labels and names. Do not make up new, unusual names for elements of the website, programs, or services.
- Structure pages of text well, with clear, meaningful, parallel headings.
- Provide a short summary at the top of each document.
- Support people taking a longer time to complete the task at hand, or stopping and returning at a later time.
Visual and multimedia
- Use only relevant images
- Use short segments of video and audio to reduce download time on older computers.
- Use pull-down menus sparingly, if at all.
- All clickable targets in the interface, such as tabs and buttons will be large. Large text for links increases readability target size.
- Moving interface elements cause problems, use static interface widgets.
- Support font scaling and larger font sizes in general.
- All code is XHTML/CSS standards compliant, well structured, and well
- The presentation is separate from structure.
- We endeavor to make forms more forgiving, with easy to read error messaging
- The website content will be device independent.
We designed to support the following browsers specifically, as well as all standards-compliant browsers.
- Internet Explorer 6 for Windows
- Internet Explorer 7 for Windows
- Internet Explorer 8 for Windows
- Internet Explorer 9 for Windows
- Mozilla Firefox for Windows
- Mozilla Firefox for Macintosh
- Safari for Macintosh
- Safari for Windows
- Google Chrome for Macintosh
- Google Chrome for Windows
A note about Accessibility Badges
We do not display accessibility-standards approved badges. Tools such as Bobby do not give a complete picture of the site’s accessibility in practice. A website might pass all possible validators and still provide a very bad experience. The evaluation tools are a means, rather than an end to themselves.
Our target is to meet all WAI guidelines through Level 2 priority and Section 508 guidelines, which are a subset of the former. However, we will favor good design principles over specific technical guidelines that may apply only to current technology.