Both the U.S. government and the World Wide Consortium have been working towards making websites more accessible to people who use assistive technology, like a screen reader, which reads the content of a website aloud.
Here are some things you can do to make you can do to make your site more accessible:
* Use alt tags for all images, including spacer gifs. For spacer gifs or bullets, you can simply use an asterisk (*). For other alt text, the text should be meaningful to someone who may have to interpret it. For example, "Link" doesn't tell someone using a screen reader anything meaningful. "Link to Home Page" does. Don't forget to check your spelling!
* If you're using image maps, you need an alt text tag for each link in the map and one for the overall image.
* Add a skip navigation link. If you have navigation bar at the top, put a skip navigation link at the front of it with a bookmark at the end. It can be text or on a spacer gif. What this does is allow a person using a screen reader to skip over the navigation links. Otherwise, he'd have to go through them each time he goes to a new page.
* Consider your color combinations. A black background with red text may look pretty cool, but to someone who is colorblind, they can't see it.
* Color should NOT be required to understanding the content. You can test your website by turning off the color. In Internet Exploer, select Tools>Internet Options. On the General tab, click the Accessibility button. Click the Ignore Colors on Specified Web Pages.
* Heading Elements. Use heading elements to break up the page. Not only does this make it easy for everyone to read because it allows them to scan the site, it carries weight in search engines. The blind reader software also uses headings to help uses navigate.
* Navigation. No one should have to guess how to navigate a website. Keep it simple, and keep it well organized. Not only will those using assistive technology be happy, so will everyone else.