Designing More Usable Web Pages

"Access is not about adding wheelchair ramps to existing pages. It's about getting your page right in the first place."

While this site is far from perfect, it was created with the intent to try ensure all pages are accessible to a wider audience, including individuals with disabilities. If you have difficulties accessing information within this site, please let us know and we will do what we can to address it.

In addition to simple design and clarity of the content, this site also offers the following features to better enhance web site accessibility.

AccessKey Keyboard Shortcuts

Most browsers support jumping to specific links by typing keys defined on the web site. On Windows, you can press ALT + an access key; on Macintosh, you can press Control + an access key.

I recently became aware that one of the major drawbacks to the well-intentioned idea of accesskeys is that they can conflict with shortcut keys used by web browsers or operating systems. As a result, I have removed accesskey definitions from this site.

Web Standards Compliance

This site has been hand-coded using structured, semantic markup with XHTML and CSS-based layout to separate design and layout specifications from site content. However, if your browser or browsing device does not support style sheets, the content of each page is still readable.

All coding conforms with W3C recommendations (specifically XHTML 1.0 Strict and CSS 2) and follows WCAG (complying with all priority 1 guidelines and most priority 2; level AA).

Usability Features

Aside from what many would consider common sense features such as consistent navigation links, color scheme and layout across all pages within the site, additional characteristics have been implemented.

External Links

External links are clearly denoted in the title attribute. Please note that external links may lead to web sites which are, of course, outside our control and may be less accessible than this site.

Font Size Control/Resizing

Do you wish you had the freedom to easily enlarge/shrink text to suit your own preferences (and eyesight), no matter what the site's style sheet says? I do too. As a result, I use relative font size specification in CSS to improve readability. Try it out... Opera: choose View > Zoom... Safari, Firefox, IE, Netscape: choose View > Text Size. If you have a scrollwheel on your mouse, hold your control key (CTRL) and move the wheel.

Printability

The use of CSS to specify styles for print helps provide suitable print formats, while also eliminating the need to create and maintain print-version pages for each page of your site.

If you have Print Preview in your browser window, you will see that the print version appears visually different than the on-screen version.

In addition, if you are using a newer browser such as Firefox or Opera, you may notice the actual URL/link references appear in print. Unfortunately, Internet Explorer does not support the CSS specification for this, so IE users will not experience this rather nifty usability feature.

Scripting

All necessary scripting used on this site is performed on the server. This ensures that all visitors have access to the same look and functions. To experience this site requires only your chosen browsing tool, and if you have JavaScript disabled, you will miss out on nothing.

Tabbing

Additional navigation links are provided to help move through the page without a mouse. Using our CSS these links will be emphasized in the visual design when tabbed to.