Address the Visually and Audibly Impaired

The Web may be a visual medium, but this hasn't stopped the visually and audibly challenged population from using it with great success. When designing your Web site, consider how this section of your market will access your site.

A common technique is to use voice boxes that convert text into spoken words. These boxes typically tab from link to link, so to facilitate fluent navigation, your tabbing has to work in a consistent, logical way that is easy to grasp.

It also helps if information is organized into small, manageable bites. Make sure your layout is consistent throughout. Including a site map helps everyone.

Another technique to consider is Cascading Style Sheets (CSS). This text format has compound advantages. As well as making life easier for those with visual or hearing difficulties, CSS produces a higher ratio of text to code that search engines appreciate. Cascading Style Sheets also make it easier to link sites with non-PC

devices such as handhelds, personal organizers, phones, Web TV, and in-car browsers.

Finally, if your site has to use large audio files, consider providing transcripts for the hearing impaired.

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