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    Using semantically correct markup

    HTML was not designed with display considerations in mind. It focused solely on the structural logic of documents and ignored the need for the visual logic of graphic design and typography. HTML is used to create structured documents by denoting structural semantics for text such as headings, paragraphs, lists, links and other items. Structural elements available in HTML should be used for their specific purpose; like heading tag should not be used as a means to format something that is not a heading.

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    Designing accessible and usable forms

    Online forms are becoming an integral part of any government website and it is important that they are dealt with care as poorly designed forms without proper instructions will cause the user to commit mistakes and finally put him off the activity.

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    Promoting your website

    Website promotion is the continuing process to promote a website to bring more visitors to the website. Many techniques such as web content development, search engine optimization and search engine submission, are used to increase the traffic to a site.

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    Providing meaningful alternate descriptions for non text elements

    Meaningful text descriptions must be provided for non text elements like images by giving an ALT tag. For decorative images like icons, bullets etc. a null ALT must be given (ALT=” “) as Screen readers ignore images without alt text. A video presentation with an audio component requires captioning. The captioning must be completely synchronized with the audio presentation to allow for the viewer to follow the meaning of the content. If there is a slide show like a PowerPoint slide show available but it is “visual only”, the graphics need to have alternative text representations.

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    Creating accessible tables

    Use tables for representing tabular data only. Take care of following points while creating tables:

    • Provide Names or Titles for Data Tables using the tag.
    • Brief summaries of complex data may be given using the summary Attribute.
    • Designate Row and Column Headers Using the tag.
    • After creating headers, associate the cells with the appropriate headers. You can do so by using the scope attribute (for simple data tables) or use the headers and id attributes (for complex tables).
    • Avoid spanned rows and columns as they are not handled well by some screen readers.
    • Use proportional sizing rather than absolute sizing.

    Using images in webpages

    Though images add life to a website, they also increase downloading time. Images should only be used when it adds value to the content. Images should not be used to present text in an alternative style as those using text only browsers shall not be able to access the information thus rendering the site inaccessible to many. Images should be created in an appropriate format to minimise load time and maximise the display quality. There are three formats for displaying images in web browsers – GIF, JPEG and PNG. Use:

    • GIF format for images that contain line-art and flat areas of colour such as icons and graphs
    • JPEG format for images that contain many colour variations, such as photographs. JPEG images can contain up to 16 million colours
      Also The size of image files should be reduced as much as possible to minimise the download time of web pages. A variety of techniques can improve the download time of pages:
    • Scaling of images should be avoided as they tend to distort. Instead a correct size should be prepared in image processing software.
    • A thumbnail (a smaller version) for a large image and link to the full-size copy should be provided where appropriate.