W3C Web Accessibility & Usability
with Estona, Sheffield, South Yorkshire
Web accessibility and usability is one of the most important issues in the web development arena today. Estona has extensive experience in producing sites that conform to W3C Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) Guidelines and pride ourselves on our expertise in integrating exciting graphic design with WAI requirements.
In line with the amended Disability Discrimination Act (which became law in October 2004) the information contained on all UK business web sites must be available to disabled users. In response to this we build all sites to meet WAI Priority 1 guidelines as a matter of policy and incorporate Priority 2 and 3 guidelines where possible. Accessibility is the starting point for any web site design and must be considered throughout the development process, from the initial graphic design through to navigation development, content addition and publication.
Accessibility related features of our sites include:
Use of Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) to separate code for content
from code for formatting.
CSS technology gives a central control for all formatting on the site allowing editors to make generic changes to the look and feel of the site quickly and easily. In addition, the extraction of formatting code to a separate style sheet file makes individual web pages smaller and therefore quicker to load, as well as improving Search Engine Optimisation by increasing the ratio of readable content to HTML code.
The use of frames can improve the download time of a site and is considered more technically elegant by some designers. However the use of frames creates some serious problems for cross platform compatibility and Search Engine Optimisation which we consider far outweigh the advantages of frame use. We therefore recommend all our sites are built in a no frames format.
Cross Browser and Platform Compatibility.
Our sites are built for optimal viewing at 800x600 screen resolution in Internet Explorer 5 or above on Windows XP/2000/98 (ca. 85% of web traffic). Sites also display correctly and are fully usable on the Apple Mac OS and in recent editions of Safari, Netscape, Firefox, Opera, Mozilla and text browsers. We do not recommend producing text only or low bandwith versions of sites and advocate a single version to be the best solution as this minimises work for editors and eliminates the chance of duplication errors.
Small File Sizes.
The use of CSS technology removes formatting code from individual web pages and minimises download times. Other measures to minimise download include image formatting to optimal sizes and placement of common images as background images referenced from a stylesheet.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) of all pages.
Our SEO process begins by researching and recommending suitable keyphrases based on relevance to business, the number of searches being conducted on a particular phrase and number of competing sites for that phrase. Keywords are included in the Title and Description tags in the header of each page, in the ALT text of images on the page, in hyperlinks, headers and in the page text. We also continue to add the "keywords" metatag to all pages although major engines no longer use this tag and its influence on search engine placement is questionable. Keywords are submitted to clients for inclusion in site content and guidance on this is available from Estona.
In general we advise clients to steer away from this medium. If Flash is used care must be taken to ensure the animation does not compromise the download time of the page or unnecessarily distract or aggravate the user. Information conveyed by the animation must also be available in straight HTML format to conform to WAI Guidelines. For an example of a Flash animation produced by Estona just take a look at our home page.
To find out more contact us on 01405 704763 (in the UK), 0439 537 593 (in Australia), or e-mail