We will begin with a few practical ways of making web pages more accessible. They are described as simple rules, which can be applied by anyone who knows how to create pages. The rules do not constitute any standard or recommendation, and they cover just a few aspects of accessibility. Yet, let us start from practicalities rather than theoretical foundations. This will help you to get an idea of what accessibility means at the level of actual work. Besides, following these rules you will easily make your pages far more accessible than most web pages are.
There is not much hi-tech involved in these rules. This makes it possible to present some basic principles in a manner that is widely understandable to authors (and other people, too). There is a deeper reason, too. Much of basic accessibility is technically simple. It is to some extent even matter of avoiding hi-tech in issues where it would cause accessibility problems.
The rules are here flagged with one, two, or three asterisks that indicate an estimate of the ease of implementation. This refers to satisfying the rules in a typical case where the rule is relevant. One asterisk means that the process is rather straightforward, two asterisks mean that a substantial effort and often some creativity is needed, and three asterisks mean that the process often requires conversion work or alternate content production and can thus be expensive.
Usually no special tools are needed to implement the rules. You can work with the program that you normally use to create and edit web pages. This can be anything from a simple editor like Notepad to a highly sophisticated authoring system that utilizes templates, data bases, preprocessing, and whatever. Perhaps you use a program like FrontPage or Nvu that lets you work with menus and buttons as in text processing but also gives you an optional access to HTML source code. In any case, you know your authoring tool and you will learn more about it if needed.
However, you may find some additional tools useful. For example, if your authoring tools has no spell checker built into it, you might use a separate program for the purpose. If you have many images on your page, you might use a markup validator that will check, among other things, that every image has an alt attribute. We will mention some of such tools in the subsequent sections that deal with each of the twelve rules separately in more detail.