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Recommended Guidelines

Following these guidelines will add functionality and usability for all users, including users of assistive technology.

Writing Style and Language

  • Try to break up large blocks of information into smaller sections to aid in navigation and readability.
  • Define the meaning of acronyms and abbreviations where they first occur in a document.
  • Identify the primary natural language of a document. Any changes in the primary natural language of a document must be identified. For example, if the natural language of a document is English and a section of the document changes to French, the French text must be clearly identified as being French.

Layout and Presentation

  • If color is used to convey information, make sure that the information is also available without color.
  • Background colors and foreground colors should provide sufficient color contrast.
  • Link text should be clear and meaningful. Avoid using "click here."
  • Provide a site map or table of contents.
  • Navigation features and style of presentation should be consistent throughout the site.
  • Style sheets should be used to create layout and presentation instead of tables.
  • Use relative units rather than absolute units in markup language attribute values and style sheet property values.
  • Use Header (H1, H2 etc.) to indicate headers and sub-headers, and use them in the correct order. Do not use headers to embellish fonts.
  • Use lists and list items properly and do not use them for layout or formatting purposes.
  • Use quotation markup for quotations and not for formatting purposes such as indentations.
  • Avoid the use of screen flicker and blinking at rates faster than 2 per second and slower than 55 per second. Flashing, flickering, and blinking of a document or document element can cause seizures in people with photosensitive epilepsy.
  • Automatic refresh and auto-redirect of pages can be confusing and disorienting to some users. Instead, configure the server to perform redirects, and create a static page that provides the new URL to direct the user to the new Web location.
  • Use W3C technologies when they are available and appropriate for a task and use the latest versions when supported.
  • Outdated elements of W3C technologies should be avoided and replaced with newer technologies. The FONT tag is an example of an outdated element that has been replaced through the use of style sheets. Refer to the W3C References for more information.
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