Website Accessibility and Compatibility

How many websites do you come across on a daily basis that do not work? Either a page doesn’t exist, or the page doesn’t load or the page load’s, but doesn’t display properly.

The reason this can happen is because not enough testing has gone into the site. Some Webmasters assume if it works for them, it will work for everyone right? Wrong.

Different people use different browsers, the most common are IE, Firefox, Opera and Safari for Mac users. Because a website displays ok in IE, does not mean it will display the same in Firefox, this is why it is important to test your website compatibility in different browsers.

As well as testing how your site displays in different browsers, it is just as important to test the accessibility of your site.

webxact.jpgWebsite Accessibility is becoming more of an issue, so much so, website companies can be sued if their websites are not accessible to all users. It is in everyone’s interest who runs a website to check with their various laws on the stance of website accessibility and what you can do to ensure you website is accessible.

There are many tools you can use to ensure your website is accessible. World Web Consortium (W3C) website offers guidelines for web content accessibility which will help you tweak your site and bring it into line to make is fully accessible. Other tools you can use for testing are webxact.watchfire.com. WebXACT is a free online service that lets you test single pages of web content for quality, accessibility, and privacy issues.

If you use Firefox, a useful extension which acts a screen reader is Fangs. Fangs will show you how screen readers view your pages enabling you to tweak the textual content of your webpages.

octagate.jpgAnother thing to consider about your website is how fast your pages load. The quicker your pages load, the happier your visitors are. You can test the speed of your pages by using tools such as OctaGate.

Although the majority of Internet users are now on broadband, there are still those who access the web via dial-up. Therefore you should still consider the speed of your site and the load times of your pages.

Broken URLs are a common in alot of websites. A website may link to an external website, yet never check to see if that site or page still exists some months/years down the line. You may even move a webpage on your own site and not update your own links. W3c’s Link Checker is a useful online tool which enables you to check your website for broken links.

There are many tools on the web that you can use to check your website compatibility and your website accessibility. The testing of your website is a very important part of the success of your website performance. Testing does not just occur the first time your website goes live, it should be a continuous part of your overall maintenance schedule.