Access me... #2

...some tips for improvements...

be smart about it…

Yes, by all means, be smart about it. Just make sure you're not outsmarting both yourself and your visitors. A few rules at the back of your mind may help simplify things.

  1. the perfect solutions can't be found, even if we have "first hand experience".
    - relax a bit on the subject, but look into it anyway ... it's important.
  2. the slightest improvement is better than being ignorant.
    - just make sure it is experienced as an improvement.
  3. if it doesn't improve our pages in general, then it's probably not worth implementing.
    - well-working pages are generally more accessible.
  4. visitors with special needs have probably solved most problems already.
    - try not to double-solve them. You may end up negating your visitor's efforts.
  5. accessibility-standards won't solve accessibility-problems.
    - the variables in human disabilities and needs, can not be standardized.
  6. don't rely on CSS, javascript and/or other additive solutions.
    - they won't always come through to the visitor.
  7. 'writing about it' is the only somewhat reliable method for delivering important information.
    - if it isn't clear enough in a text-only environment, then it isn't clear enough...
  8. don't oversimplify everything.
    - your visitors are not stupid - and you won't be able to fix their brains anyway.
  9. test with all available browser-options.
    - since some may need these options, they should at least work.
  10. Write your own accessibility check-list.
    - there isn't such a thing as a universal check-list. Your projects are unique.

You haven't solved all accessibility-problems by following up on this list, but you won't have solved any if you discard it.

ballance the page…

Visitors need to know what the page is all about, and where they are. Then they decide on whether to imediately move on to another page (or somewhere), or access the content before moving on.

What dominates a page? How would you react as a visitor?

  • A big animated add on top...
    (me) - just another add-page... let's get out of here.
  • Links to all pages on site...
    (me) - fine, but where am I?
  • An informative title...
    (me) - the subject I'm looking for, or maybe not?

Keep on evaluating web pages, and write short notes about how well they work. It's not the content that's right or wrong, it's the way it's presented. Skipping any of it is most often not a useful option, but watch the ballance.

Test your own pages…

Test-level 1: if this was someone else's page, would it make perfect sense to you?
- That's easy; of course it would!

Test-level 2: test how much colors matters.
I use some colored plastic sheets for this test, but it may work to adjust down / off colors on a monitor. We can not replicate color-blindness, but filtering out colors may give some indications.
- Does the page still deliver as intended?

Test-level 3: check source-ordering.
Switch off CSS and all the other niceties, and watch the ballance again.
- Does the page make sense?

Test-level 4: simulate low or no vision.
Let Lynx have a go at it - or use Opera's accessibility styles. Limit the browser-window to only one or two lines of text. Use only the keyboard for navigation, and work your way through the whole page and make use of all links.
The less you can see at any one time - the closer you are to being blind...
- Does the page still make sense? Is the navigation functional?

You may not like what you see (apart from "test-level 1") as your page gets "ruined" by some software. Get over it, and make some improvements if it looks too bad. An accessible web page should be able to survive all 4 test-levels.

That still doesn't mean that we have created a perfectly accessible page though - it's just the basics that's covered to some degree.

That's the problem, but it is also part of the solution; a perfectly accessible page doesn't exist. However, an accessible web page is accessible if someone want to access it.


No need to leave your Opera (if you're lucky enough to have one). Opera can simulate the most needed user-environments, and save you a lot of time and browser-switching.

  1. Zoom your pages to see how they end up on different screen-resolutions.
    - test for the "age-factor". That's -10% below 100% magnification for every ten years past the age of 40 — as a rule of thumb.
  2. Set "minimum font-size" at 25-30px to test that a page is holding.
    - check those line-heights (avoid pixels there).
    - how about those fixed dimensions on containers?
  3. Make full use of "user style" to test accessibility.
    - example:
    √ Emulate text browser
    √ Accessibility layout
    √ High contrast (B/W)
    √ Disable tables
    (these may be active simultaneously, but you have to check them one after the other the first time.)
  4. Link-relations may be tested, used, and refined in Opera. Just remember that Opera only recognizes a limited set of link-relations — the basic ones.

Simulations are never the real thing, and your visitors aren't simulating either (I hope). However, simulations may give us some ideas about how some visitors may experience our pages, and how well our pages are organized and holding under stress.

our understanding…

We may develop solution after solution - and still create web pages with accessibility barriers. These barriers will only fall if our understanding grows beyond our own situation and preferences. We can't always have it our own way...

It is best to stick to the simplest solutions, until we are sure we have found some better ones. I'm stressing this point because there are so many "clever" solutions out here. Many of them create as many problems as they solve, and that is not progress.

This very page is simple and basic. It will hold its own and be accessible up to a certain point. I don't know how to get beyond that, so I'll leave it as it is for now. I will probably not stop looking for ways to improve on it though...

You may go up to access me #1.
You may also look at options - access me #3.

sincerely  georg; sign

Hageland 01.nov.2004
rev: 03.apr.2005

Access me...

Accessibility is not an option - it's the main thing.


  • introduction
  • Table of Content


  • this is PTL web-design
  • CSS sledgehammer
  • accessibility
  • more about access
  • Print enhanced page
  • Projection enhanced
  • Small Screen enhanced page
  • validity of xhtml and CSS
  • html tidy
  • Opera and me
  • Firefox vs. IE
the usual
  • the author
  • Copyright
the unusual
  • Molly speaks up
the additional
  • Examples
  • Demo pages

Two good friends - Lynx and Opera.
They both provide excellent access to the world wide web.

Dear web design experts:

Pixel-perfection and accessibility may co-exist, but not very likely.

My web pages looks better in Lynx...
...most web pages does...

You're right; this page isn't nearly good enough.
Do you have a solution?

Excessive use of xhtml elements does not hurt accessibility.
Just use them right...

Dear visitor:

Personal taste is not an accessibility issue. It's just a matter of taste.

No accessibility button provides accessibility.
They are just buttons...

All browsers have accessibility options.
Some of them even works.
You should give them a try some time.

No, I'm sorry...
I can't make Internet Explorer perform as well as any good browser.

You're completely right.
It doesn't help one bit if I write the word "accessibility" one more time.