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Accessible Development & Design

Creating and maintaining accessible websites, applications and digital assets requires collaboration between designers, developers and content providers. In order to ensure equal access to information for all people, digital content creators should be familiar with web accessibility standards and principles. For more detailed information, view the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 website.

Facilitating Accessibility on Top-level Pages

  1. Have descriptive ALT attributes on images that carry content.
  2. Have empty ALT attributes on images that do not carry content.
  3. Use tables only for tabular data. Add a brief summary of the table content for screenreader software.
  4. Allow navigation independent of JavaScript.
  5. Keep navigational elements in the same location on every page.

If you have further technical questions on how to use specific markup features to support accessibility, visit the W3C online technical reports or email the Web Accessibility Initiative at


  1. Consult the latest W3C guidelines.
  2. Use high contrast text/background combinations with little or no pattern in the background.
  3. Use proper heading styles to structure a page <h1>, <h2>, etc.
  4. Use CSS when possible.
  5. Use ALT attributes to describe images.
  6. Use relative font sizes.
  7. Make sure page is "backward compatible" (that is, that it "fails gracefully").

Strongly Discouraged
(hinders accessibility for those with visual impairments)

  1. Use of red/green combinations.
  2. Designation of headings by using bold formatting.
  3. Making navigation or other essential information depend solely on images.