Design for Device Independence
Web sites should not be designed to require a specific type of device, such as a mouse. Designing for device independence helps "power users" who are faster with keyboard shortcuts, people who need to limit mouse use due to repetitive stress injuries (RSI), and people who use mobile phones and other devices without a mouse. A user may also interact with a Web site by voice or head wand.
Tips for Designing for Device Independence
- Do not use server-side image maps. A List Apart has a good article on building an accessible, standards-compliant image map
- Ensure that any element that has its own interface, like Flash, can be operated in a device-independent manner.
- For scripts, specify logical event handlers rather than device-dependent event handlers.
- Create a logical tab order through links, form controls, and objects.
e.g., in HTML, specify tab order via the "tabindex" attribute or ensure a logical page design.
- Avoid using the access key function. It does not work in every browser and if it does work, access key commands could conflict with already existing browser key commands.
- Caldwell, B, ed, Trace R&D Center, ed, W3C, ed, Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0. World Wide Web Consortium. December 2008.
- Henry, SL, Web Accessibility: Web Standards and Regulatory Compliance. Berkeley, CA: friends of ED/Apress, 2006.