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accessibility homepage

web accessibility

web design standards

accessibility links

physical accessibility


Wiltshire College builds its web pages to an agreed standard, with accessiblity as a fundamental part of our design strategy.

You have probably seen the three small icons at the bottom of each page, which are indications of the claims we make about our pages.

standards icons

wai accessibility iconWAI

Our pages conform to the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) standards, as defined by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). These are the universally accepted standards on accessibility.

WAI Guidelines

WAI Checklist

There are three levels of adherence, known as level A, Level AA, and Level AAA. Commonly,
  • Level A is seen as the things we MUST do.
  • Level AA as the things we SHOULD do.
  • Level AAA as the things we COULD do.
These standards are self-regulating, which means that we are declaring ourselves to have met these approved standards for page design. They are not validated by the W3C.

Having met the Level A standard for some time, and following a review of our page standards, we declared ourselves to have met the Level AA criteria in October 2005.

cascading style sheet iconCSS

Cascading style sheets (CSS) is an established technology for imposing site-wide presentational standards. Wiltshire College pages use CSS for both the individual look of page elements such as text and colour, but also to position the various components, such as menus, content and footers on the page.

An important outcome of this is that tables are only used for tabular data, not to define the page. This has the effect that screen readers can read the content of the page in a normal fashion without losing context. We can avoid having the screenreader read unnecessary elements such as menus and navigation.

It also means that we can make site-wide changes to presentation fairly simply. This technology is also the basis for our myWiltscoll application, in which users can customise their browsing experience.

Clicking on the CSS icon at the bottom of each page tests the cascading style sheet for validity.

xhtml iconXHTML

Wherever practically possible, all of our web pages are built to the XHTML 1.0 standard, as defined by the W3C. We have chosen the TRANSITIONAL standard because its retrospective approach allows people with older browser technology an equivalent quality of access.

You should be able to see the pages as we intended, regardless of the type of browser, operating system or hardware you use.

By building our pages to this defined universal standard, we are also having a direct effect on their accessibility, as many of the qualities of good web page accessibility, such as the use of ALT tags, are inherently part of this XHTML standard.

By clicking on the icon at the bottom of each page, you can test that the page is valid XHTML.

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