The Websites

Accessibility

It is my intention that the Lyndenlea websites should be as simple to use as possible, by as many people as possible, regardless of what kind of hardware or software they are using, and regardless of how they navigate around and use the sites. To this end I have followed the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 1.0, a specification of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) developed by the W3C's Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI), and I am proud to be able to display a Level A conformance icon on every page of the Lyndenlea websites. This means I have satisfied all of the Priority One checkpoints defined in the WCAG 1.0 specification. Incidentally, I have also satisfied a large number of the Priority Two and Priority Three checkpoints necessary for Level Double-A and Level Triple-A conformance, but not enough to achieve those levels of conformance. For more information please see the W3C's Fact Sheet for "Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0".

In December 2008 WCAG 1.0 was superceded by the current version of the guidelines, WCAG 2.0. In anticipation of this, throughout 2008 I implemented various accessibility features so I could meet the requirements of WCAG 2.0 as soon as it was finalised, to a standard equivalent to Level AAA conformance. By March 2009 I was finally satisfied that my websites conformed, but as they still included a few significant bits of code that were outside of my control - namely a search facility and a small advert - I would have been restricted to making a Statement of Partial Conformance. Whilst well-reasoned, I found the requirements of making such a statement to be unnecessarily prohibitive, particularly in light of the continuing advances in Web technology that so easily enable websites to share content.

As it turned out, though, in February 2010 I found myself removing the last of those bits of code from my websites, so I can now (with great pride) state that:

On 18th February 2010 all webpages under the lyndenlea.info domain (including all subdomains) conform to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 at http://www.w3.org/TR/2008/REC-WCAG20-20081211/, Level AAA.

The technologies that this content relies upon (i.e. without support for which it would not conform) are XHTML 1.0 Transitional and CSS 2.1.

Some of the accessibility features that have been added to the Lyndenlea websites are described in the following paragraphs.

Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)

Through the extensive use of the W3C's Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) technology, I have been able to separate the formatting information for each page (such as colours, layout, and the appearance of text) from the content. Apart from reducing the download time for each page (the CSS data need only be downloaded once for each site), this has also allowed me to specify different formatting information depending on the hardware and software you're using to view the websites. Consequently, small-screen and low-resolution devices can make the best use of their limited display capabilities, screen readers can save time when reading a page to a user, and printers can be more economical on ink and paper by omitting certain parts of the page that are either unnecessary or take up too much valuable space.

One major feature of the Lyndenlea websites that makes full use of CSS is the colour schemes. Each site has its own distinct palette to help distinguish it from the others, and I've worked hard to ensure that there is always a 7:1 contrast ratio between the text and background colours. This ratio - regardless of the actual colours used - is necessary for the majority of people with visual impairments to be able to read documents easily, and is also a Level Triple-A conformance requirement of the W3C's WCAG 2.0.

Display Options

Using the controls on the Display Options page you can adjust the spacing between each line of text, both in the main content of the page and in the Dynamic Site Menu. You can also decide whether the text in the main content is fully-justified (to both the left and right margins) or left-justified. Your preferences will be stored in a cookie (a small text file) on your computer. If your Web browser is configured not to accept cookies you'll be unable to use the controls on this page, however your Web browser may offer similar functionality. For more information on the use of cookies on the Lyndenlea websites please see the Privacy Statement.

"Skip to" Links

At the very top of each page on the Lyndenlea websites is a set of links which allow you to jump directly to various parts of the page, such as the main content, the Dynamic Site Menu, and the end of the page. Note that in some Web browsing software only the visual focus will be moved, but not the input focus. This is due to limitations in the software, and is beyond my control.

JavaScript

Due to potential compatibility and security issues I have previously kept the use of JavaScript on these websites to an absolute minimum. However, as the technology develops and implementation becomes more widespread I have decided to make better use of the features available with JavaScript, particularly where this would improve accessibility of the Lyndenlea websites.

As has always been the case, in every page there is a very short piece of JavaScript that ensures the page always opens within the entire Web browser window - without changing the Web browser window in any way - and "breaks out" of any frames within which another website might be trying to display it. Some websites attempt to use their own frames to surround other websites with advertising - including initiating pop-up windows - which can be distracting and annoying to visitors, and this is a practice to which I am very strongly opposed.

Links to Other Websites

To make it more obvious which links on the Lyndenlea websites point to other websites not owned or controlled by me (i.e. "external links"), for each such link I have made the text italic and - where the browser supports the necessary CSS rule - appended an icon (External link icon). You can see this in action with the external links at the beginning of this page.

Until January 2008 all external links were configured to open by default in a new Web browser window to ensure that visitors could easily return to Lyndenlea later on. However, as most Web browsing software offers similar functionality through context menus and keyboard shortcuts, the decision to open any link in a new browser window should fall to the visitors themselves. Therefore, every link on the Lyndenlea websites will open by default in the current browser window.


Access Keys

I have decided not to use Access Keys on the Lyndenlea websites, mainly to avoid potential conflicts with similar keyboard shortcuts already used in Web browsing software. However, I hope that the various other accessibility features and navigational aids I have implemented will still allow anyone to make full use of these websites.