An Accessibility Primer

How do we achieve accessibility? Follow these simple guidelines.


Create web sites that

  • Use web standards
  • Use semantic HTML: POSH
  • Integrate accessibility from the start of a project
  • Are POUR

What is POSH?

  •  Plain old semantic HTML
  •  The Hypertext Markup Language is meant to format text into semantic elements. Most HTML tags are self-describing, that is, the tag itself describes the semantic meaning of the text it is meant to format.
  •  Make sure the HTML elements that content is placed in are really describing the content. Use heading tags (<h1>, <h2>, etc.) for headings. Use list tags for lists. Use table elements properly.
  •  There are only a couple of exceptions to the semantic nature of HTML: the generic container elements <div> and <span> do not have semantic underpinnings.

What is POUR (or the WCAG 2.0 guidelines)


  • Provide text alternatives for any non-text content so that it can be changed into other forms people need, such as large print, Braille, speech, symbols, or simpler language.
  • Provide alternatives for time-based media
  • Create content that can be presented in different ways (for example, simpler layout) without losing information or structure.
  • Make it easier for users to see and hear content, including separating foreground and background.


  • Make all functionality available from a keyboard.
  • Provide users enough time to read and use content.
  • Do not design content in a way that is known to cause seizures.
  • Provide ways to help users navigate, find content, and determine where they are.


  • Make text content readable and understandable
  • Make web pages appear and operate in predictable ways
  • Help users avoid and correct mistakes


  • Maximize compatibility with current and future user agents, including assistive technologies.

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