How do you make your site accessible?
Follow proven guidelines from the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) and e-Government. One of the definitive guides is the Web Accessibility Initiative introduced by W3C:
“The Web Accessibility Initiative develops strategies, guidelines, and resources to help make the Web accessible to people with disabilities.”
Accessibility guidelines consider people who are:
- Colour blind (10% of male population)
- Visually impaired or blind (use a screen reader)
- Motor impaired and have difficulties using a mouse or keyboard
- Hearing impaired or deaf
- Using earlier or other untested browsers
- On a slow internet connection
- Using new technical platforms such as mobile phones and wireless devices
- Experiencing age-related functional disabilities - seeing, hearing, or have difficulties using a mouse
This page explains how we’ve designed our site to include these people.
How we’ve made our site accessible
The Pepper website:
- is standards compliant, valid XHTML 1.0
- works in any browser
- looks great on mobile phones (and includes a special iPhone version)
- doesn’t need a Flash plugin if you don't have it
- has descriptions of images for people who can’t see them
The Pepper site is designed so that all pages validate as XHTML 1.0 (check for yourselves at w3c). This means that it works in different browsers. Of course, we’ve used technologies like Flash that aren't strictly accessible. But we’ve made sure that the same content is available in an accessible format.
Because our site is standards compliant, you can see it in any web browser. For older browsers that don’t support all the features of modern web standards, we ensure content is presented in alternative ways (see the note on progressive enhancement below). If you're using older browsers such as Internet Explorer 6 we
suggest urge you to get the a new version of Internet Explorer or opt for Firefox, Safari or Google Chrome. If your IT department’s policies mean you can't do this yourself, nag them to make it happen.
These days every wants to access web content on the move. To ensure our site loads as quickly as possible on your mobile device, we've tweaked the order in which the content is presented. We’ve removed some content altogether and resized images to be 3G-friendly. The iPhone is the most popular mobile device used to access our site. So we've also created a special iPhone version of our website.
In a nutshell, this approach means all our visitors see at least the basics of our website — the core content and functionality. We then add layers to present the content in more interesting ways depending on the capabilities of your machine or the level of your disability. Of course, we like experimenting with the latest techniques. So we've used features such as CSS3 that are supported by all the latest browsers. But we've ensured that the site still looks good in other recent browsers. We've also used Flash in a way that means you don’t have to have the plugin installed (so you can see our work in all its glory). For all non-decorative images, we've ensured they include 'alt attributes'. Short for alternative, alt attributes provide a description of the image that’s meaningful to people who use screen readers or have images turned off.
Help make us better
Spotted something we've missed? Please get in touch as we want our site to be accessible to as wide a range of visitors as possible.