Making accessible designs is easy

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Web Accessibility is the application of design methods and practices so that Web content is available to all, and in particular those individuals with disabilities. By designing for accessibility, the developer not only gains a wider audience, but also a greater appreciation for their efforts. The intention of the Web is to be a global information space. By restricting access, the site owner, author or developer is defeating this purpose.

Contrary to what some people believe, designing Web content for both accessibility and aesthetic appeal is entirely possible. It can be a complex process however, and takes some rethinking on the part of the designer. Remember that disability does not simply mean blindness or vision impairment, it includes people with cognitive problems, deafness, mobility impairments and so on. In some locations, or for certain classes of Web sites, accessibility may even be mandated by law. 

The best place to start before attempting to convert or build an accessible Web site is with standards and good practices. Make sure your markup is valid, and that you are separating the structure and content of the design from its presentation using CSS and other tools. This will not only help when you tackle the job of making it accessible, it will make your site easier to maintain and improve as well.

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