We’ve worked hard to embody best practice, and to make this site and all our archive content accessible to the widest range of users.
This site was published in 2010, and has been tested as compatible with Internet Explorer 7, Safari 3 and Mozilla 3.5.
Faced with the task of trying to create a home for our legacy which would be compatible with future devices, we opted for HTML5 as our standard. All pages on this site are valid HTML5. Our CSS is also valid and standards-compliant (with the addition of one Webkit / Mozilla-specific property, which is purely cosmetic).
An additional benefit of using HTML5 is the greater potential for structuring the pages in a systematic, semantically-clear fashion.
It’s worth noting however, that at time of writing HTML5 is only a draft specification, so we have avoided features still under heavy debate. In practice, our approach has been to try to leverage the greatest semantic benefit for the least risk.
We have taken an extremely conservative approach to the use of script, and the only use made of client-side scripting is to provide HTML5 support in legacy versions of Internet Explorer.
We have reviewed the the US section 508 guidelines and believe that this site is in compliance.
Furthermore, we believe this site complies with all of the WCAG priority 1, 2, and 3 guidelines, subject to the clarifications in the following discussion:
Checkpoint 13.3 Provide information about the general layout of a site (e.g., a site map or table of contents).
Because of the extremely large number of pages, a full sitemap was felt to be impractical, but we’ve provided a map of the archive on the archive page. We believe this honours the spirit of the “general layout” principle.
Checkpoint 10.4 Until user agents handle empty controls correctly, include default, place-holding characters in edit boxes and text areas.
We wanted the search of our archive site to remain up to date and state-of-the-art even after our organisation has ceased to exist. We felt that the best way to achieve this was by using Google as our search provider. The code provided by Google meets all of the priority 1 and 2 checkpoints, but does not meet 10.4.
This site contains rich content in several forms:
Images have been properly titled and where relevant supplied with alt text. Purely decorative graphics are supplied with null alt tags.
Audio content is also provided in transcript form.
Some content is available in PDF or Word format (eg magazine extracts etc). This content, like all our archive items, is provided with a full, screenreader-friendly abstract and description.
Site level navigation is consistent and easy to find (it’s at the top!). Because the navigation is only two elements, after consideration, we took the unusual decision of not including a “skip nav” link as this itself would be 50% the length off the menu it has to skip.
As navigation aids, we have attempted to cross reference the site content (in particular the archive section) to provide multiple paths of discovery to suit personal tastes and needs.