Improving Accessibility

While looking through the HTML code generated by WordPress, I have come across several tags I was unfamiliar with. One of these was ACCESSKEY. At first sight, this would appear to be a very useful way of moving quickly about the page; indeed the Connections theme I use here uses accesskeys of a (About), c (Contact), h (Home/Recent), l (Links) and the UK Government came up with some standard definitions

  • S – Skip navigation
  • 1 – Home page
  • 2 – What’s new
  • 3 – Site map
  • 4 – Search
  • 5 – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
  • 6 – Help
  • 7 – Complaints procedure
  • 8 – Terms and conditions
  • 9 – Feedback form
  • 0 – Access key details

However, the use of ACCESSKEYs can cause problems as described by the RNIB due to the fact that they override the default Browser keystrokes, so their use has rather fallen out of favour, especially on pages where data entry is required.

Useful resources for improving accessibility are:
BBC – http://www.bbc.co.uk/accessibility/
Abilitynet – http://www.abilitynet.org.uk/
Equality Commission – General web accessibility guidance – BS 8878, PAS78
BECTA (Archived) – Making Accessible Software