No text only websites!
‘The RNIB encourages the design of websites that practice ‘universal design’ or ‘design for all’. That is, a single version of the website which is accessible to everyone, no matter how they access the Web. This is made possible by the extensive accessibility features designed into HTML 4. The W3C recommend a text only page only as a last resort.’
In most circumstances there is no need to create a separate text-only version of a website.
Unless database content management is being used, the creation of an additional text-only version simply doubles the work involved in updating or amending the site, and often leads to an increasingly useless version of the site, with time constraints resulting in the graphic version being updated regularly while the text-only version is neglected and becomes more and more out of date. The creation of a text-only version should be seen only as a final option when all other alternatives for making the site accessible have been exhausted.
Accessible pages needn’t be bland! They can be well designed, attractive and interactive, while at the same time providing access for everyone.
Separate design from content using HTML & CSS and you effectively build a text only website, but when attached to your tailored style sheet, becomes an attractively designed website page.
UK Government recommendations:
Alternative text-only pages should rarely be necessary and are not best practice. If text-only pages are used it is essential that their content is as complete and comprehensive as graphic content and is updated simultaneously with graphic content.
Guidelines for UK Government websites
Illustrated handbook for Web management teams
- Special Educational Needs and Disability Act 2001
- Guide to good practice in commissioning accessible websites
- Web Accessibility Code Of Practice British Standard
- The Grey Area Of Website Design: Web Accessibility
- Accessible Website Design In The UK
- What Is The WAI?
- Who started the W3C?
- What is WCAG?
- What is Section 508?
- What is the RNIB
- RNIB Campaign For Good Website Design
- Can I be Prosecuted Over An Inaccessible Website?
- Who Prosecutes Companies?
- Web Accessibility Legal Cases in the UK
- Designing Websites For Blind Users
- Test Your Website For Accessibility Issues
- Web Accessibility Discrimination Prosecution cases in Australia
- When Must A Website Be Accessible By?
- Web Accessibility Minimum Requirements in the UK
- First company prosecuted in the UK over inaccessibility
- Who is Jakob Nielsen?
Website Design Tips
- Do NOT build a site with Frames
- Do NOT build a site with Flash
- Do NOT build Text Only Versions Of Your Website
- Speed up your website load time
- Should I Use Popup Windows?
- Keep It Simple Stupid!
- Why Keep Your Navigation Consistent Across Your Site
- Separate Content From Design
- Is My Website Legal?
- UK Governments Advice on Accessible Websites