Making Accessible Websites for the United Nations

Page Design: Coding

Organize Documents So They May Be Read Without Style Sheets

WAI Definition (Checkpoint 6.1)

Organize documents so that they may be read without style sheets. For example, when an HTML document is rendered without associated style sheets, it must still be possible to read the document.

Explanation

Document layout should be organized in a comprehensible format in order to be legible without style sheets. When style sheets are turned off, all content and links should be accessible and functional to the user.

Rationale

Support for style sheets is not consistent across all browsers and platforms.

Furthermore, users have the ability to override the original style sheet with one of their own which might be better suited for their needs (for example, with larger fonts or a different colour scheme).

It is therefore important that the structure of a document can be communicated in a comprehensible order, even when style sheets are disabled. This will ensure that the structure is clear when an alternative style sheet is used.

Technique

The structure of the document should be reflected in the HTML: titles should be tagged with heading tags (<h1>, <h2>), menus and lists should be in list tags (<li>), quotations should be in blockquote tags (<blockquote>).

Validation

Test

Using the Firefox Web Developer's Toolbar (plugin):
Go to CSS > Disable styles> All styles

Success Criteria

The document is still readable. Elements such as headings or lists can be recognised as such.