In terms of Web site navigation, accessibility and usability concerns are generally similar. Usability recommendations that are of particular concern to the accessibility community include the following:
- Use HTML H Tags to mark major divisions on the menu, including side menus.
- Be sure to include a Skip Navigation strategy so users, especially those on a screen reader, can skip large blocks of repetitive links.
- If your site includes Search forms, make sure the forms are accessible.
- Be sure that the navigation scheme is consistent across the Web site. This helps users form a mental map of the site and also allows those on a screen reader to more efficiently navigate a Web site.
- Use language for navigational labels that is comprehensible to the target audience.
Note: In many cases, the "language" of the target audience (e.g. students, customers, general audience) differs greatly from the content developers (e.g. instructors, support staff, programmers, etc.)
- Navigational icons can be beneficial for some learning disabled users, but icons for less-common functions should also include a text label. Images of icons for common functions such as "print" or "next" should include an ALT tag.
- Be sure that navigational elements such as buttons or tabs are legible to low vision users in terms of font face and font size as well as color contrast.
- If your navigation includes dropdown menus, be sure that they are accessible to users on screen readers and to motion impaired users. In some cases, a link to static menu, such as a sitemap, may be recommended.
- If your navigation includes any scripted or dynamic elements, be sure that they are tested for screen reader users.