It is my intention that the Lyndenlea website should be as simple to use as possible, by as many people as possible, irrespective of what kind of hardware or software they are using or how they navigate around and use the site. To this end I have followed the Web Content Accessiblity Guidelines (WCAG), an international standard developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI), and I am proud to be able to make the following conformance claim:
On 15th August 2023 all web pages at "lyndenlea.uk" (including subdomains) conform to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.1 at https://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG21/. Level AAA conformance.
Some of the accessibility features that I have incorporated into the Lyndenlea website 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 – as the CSS data need only be downloaded once for the whole site – this has also allowed me to specify different formatting information depending on the hardware and software you're using to view the website. Consequently, small-screen and low-resolution devices can make the best use of their 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 website that makes full use of CSS is the colour scheme, 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 AAA conformance requirement of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).
I have designed the navigational structure of this website to be a simple four-tier heirarchy. This structure is reflected in the breadcrumb trail ("You are here") at the top-left of each page which follows you as you browse the website. Each item in the breadcrumb trail is a link to that particular level in the heirarchy, allowing you to find related pages and information with ease. I have also taken care to include links to nearby pages throughout the site; and links to the most important pages can always be found in the footer, immediately following the main content.
One of these important pages is the Site Map which provides quick and easy access to nearly every page of the Lyndenlea website to save you having to navigate down through the heirarchy. The only pages that aren't included in the Site Map are those where it is necessary to make selections from a form to navigate deeper.
"Skip to" links
At the very top of each page is a set of links that allow you to jump directly to either the beginning or the end of the main content of the page. Note that in some browsers 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.
Links to other websites
To make it more obvious which links 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 (). 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 browser window to ensure that visitors could easily return to Lyndenlea later on. However, as most browsers offer 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 website will open by default in the current browser window.
Whilst developing this website I have followed the various technical specifications to ensure the validity of both the HTML code that defines the structure of each page, and the CSS code that controls the page formatting. I write all of my code by hand in a simple text editor, so I don't rely on any Web authoring software to produce valid code for me, and I check the results using the latest versions of both Mozilla Firefox and Vivaldi. It's a sad fact that browsers occasionally interpret the same code in slightly different ways, despite all claiming to adhere to the same specifications. However, things have significantly improved in this regard over the years, so hopefully any such idiosyncrasies you might find here will result only in cosmetic display issues.
It might surprise you to learn that I've never actually written a single page for this website. I really only write bits of pages, which are then assembled as building blocks by the PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor code on the server (again, all written by me in the same simple text editor) to dynamically create each page before it's sent across the Internet to your browser. Not only does this mean that the website is highly efficient in its use of source code, as the same block of code can be built into multiple pages; it also means I can automatically make decisions about the page content depending on what options are sent to the server. You can see this technology in action on almost every page of the Lyndenlea website.