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:

  1. HTML navigation is generally recommended over Flash navigation because it is generally easier to tweak and test HTML and even JavaScript for accessibility than Flash.
  2. Use HTML H Tags to mark major divisions on the menu, including side menus.
  3. Be sure to include a Skip Navigation strategy so users, especially those on a screen reader, can skip large blocks of repetitive links.
  4. If your site includes Search forms, make sure the forms are accessible.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.)
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. If your navigation includes any scripted or dynamic elements, be sure that they are tested for screen reader users.

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