Web Accessibility Best Practices

Campus Information Technologies and Educational Services (CITES) and Disability Resources and Educational Services (DRES)

University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign

Navigation and Orientation

Navigation and Orientation is the least understood aspect of web accessibility for many web developers, but is the most important for providing people with disabilities equal access to electronic web materials. The ability of people with disabilities to navigate and orient to information on a web resource is not dependent on the graphical complexity, but on the underlying markup used to create the structure of the website. Therefore a page made up of only text content can be less accessible than a highly graphical website, if the graphical website contains structural elements and the text site uses only paragraph elements.

HTML Elements for Navigation and Orientation

title, h1
Use to provide a unique title for each web resource in a web site
h2, h3, h4, h5, h6
Headers are used to indicate major/minor topics in a web resource
ul, ol, li
Use to indicate navigation bars when used in conjunction with the title attribute
Use to indicate ordered and unordered lists of items (you can use the CSS list-style property to change the formatting of bullets and numbering)
dl, dt, dd
Use to indicate lists of related items that have multiple descriptors, like the multiple definitions of a word in a dictionary or the time, location, and date of a meeting
Use to provide an association between controls and their text labels
fieldset, legend
Use to provide a label that describes the relationship between form controls in a group
Use to provide a title to a tabular data table
th, th:id, td:headers
Use to associate header cells (th) with a data cell (td)
lang, xml:lang attributes
Use markup to indicate changes in language so speech technologies can automatically change pronunciation to the specified language