Considering Web Accessibility during Web Development

One of the most important, but overlooked aspects of web development is web accessibility. Web accessibility is quite simply, the process of making a website accessible by all types of people, disabled or otherwise. Web accessibility has become far more important recently, due to the ever increasing presence of the Internet in everyone’s lives. This increase of reliance on the Internet means that life has become more difficult for people who are blind or have poor eyesight, just think about how many companies require you to use their website for basic tasks these days, and it’ll only become more prevalent in the future.

Fortunately, as previously discussed if W3C standards are followed by web developers, the process of ensuring your website is easily accessible to the disabled is relatively easy. Writing good HTML code means that people who cannot see, can use text to speech or text to braille devices to help them navigate your web pages.

Although compensating for visually impaired users during web development is a good start to ensuring web accessibility, it is not enough; there are many users who have trouble with motor skills, specifically in their hands. A web developer needs to ensure that their website can be navigated easily by those without fine motor control, this could be solved through a variety of methods but the most prominent would be having basic and/or large navigation bars or links and enabling the site to being accessible with a switch device.

The content of the site should also be accessible by people, who are deaf or hearing impaired, this means a web developer would try to make videos with subtitles or closed captions. There are a variety of easy ways of making your website more accessible to people with disabilities, and in the end it means that more people will be able to view the site properly. Not only this, but in some countries there is now a legal incentive to actually allow force web developers to provide for disabled people and now finally web accessibility is becoming an essential part of web development.

Why use Div tags instead of tables?

You’ll hear most web developers say that during web development that you should never use tables as a means of laying out the content of your web page, and a combination of Div tags and CSS is always recommended. To a new web developer, it might seem pointless or even a hindrance to use Div tags in comparison to the ease of use that tables present.

One of the most important parts of web development, or even any sort of code development is having easily readable code and comments where the code is not immediately obvious. Once you start creating large tables, with multiple columns and rows, the amount of nesting of tags that occurs can be quite excessive and to anyone trying to modify or improve your code will find their time vastly consumed with just finding trying to read it. Obviously this is inefficient use of web development time and is counterproductive web design, as the more time it takes to make simple changes, the more money is unnecessarily used.

On top of that, changing layouts becomes a far more time-consuming task when tables are used, as it is far harder to actually modify tables without something else breaking as well, which uses more development time on nonessential tasks. Most importantly, tables require more processing and cannot be as easily cached as CSS can be, this increase in load time could be what convinces a user that the website is not worth looking at. As a web developer, less users looking at content simply because of load times is a sign of poor web development, and using Div tags is not much more difficult than tables so it is an easily rectifiable problem.

All this raises the question, when should tables be used in web development? Well it might seem obvious, but they should be used when dealing with tabular data, such as anything you would display in a spreadsheet type manner. In the end, you can display your website, however you wish, but tables show a distinct lack of professionalism when it comes to web development and is just simply not as good as div tags.

How to put a link on a web page?

Possibly one of the most powerful tools in a web developers arsenal is hyper link, whether it is a link to another part of the website, or to another website, their usefulness in web development is only exceeded by how easy they are to create. It’s simple, and the following line of code is all you need.

<a href=”http://www.example.com”>Example</a>

The result of this code would be the word “Example” which when clicked would you bring you to the website “www.example.com”. The applications of the web link are extremely numerous in web development, from creating navigation bars, to linking to relevant sources, the web itself would be incredibly boring and a far less robust experience without web links.

How important is CSS W3C Compliance?

Just like HTML W3C compliance, having your CSS documents validate is just as important for web development. Once again, the World Wide Web Consortium has made the process extremely simple for web developers, the W3C website allows you to validate your CSS documents by inputting the URL of your website, if it’s already live, or you can either upload the CSS document directly or copy and paste the contents of your document in. All of this can be accomplished from this link http://jigsaw.w3.org/css-validator/.

You might ask, what’s the point of validating CSS documents, after all they are extremely simple and straightforward? Well, there are many reasons why a web developer would validate their CSS documents, which although many of the reasons for doing so are the same as HTML compliance, that does not make them any less valid when it comes to web development. This includes, making sure that the web page displays correctly on all current browsers, W3C compliance also means that if any future browsers support older forms of HTML and CSS (They should!) then your web page will continue to display correctly in the future. Obviously this would save lots of money when it comes to web development and would save developers a lot of time.

Using the W3C CSS validator is also an excellent method of finding small errors within the code, which is extremely helpful for web developers when your CSS document is several hundred lines of code long. Not only is this helpful for professional web design, but amateurs can benefit from the use of CSS validators as well, and can be a valuable tool in teaching good practice to new developers. Overall compliance with W3C standards indicates a level of professionalism from a web developer.

How important is SEO to Web Development?

Most people when looking for a particular product or service turn to Search Engines to help, so when it comes to web development and businesses, the higher up your site appears in a Search Engine the more people that will see it.

Google, the largest Search Engine provider by a vast margin, recently released this video on helping start-up companies with their SEO.

Google cannot give their Search Engine algorithm away as that would allow it to be easily abused, however the tips provided in the video are extremely useful and go a long way to boosting your website ranking.

Many of the points raised are extremely valid, for example checking if the domain was previously owned and used to spam people, performing a reconsideration request is the best bet in removing this restriction placed on the domain.

The video is also relevant to web developers, as it also includes excellent information on web development, which not only improve the websites Search Engine ranking, but also improves its general usability.

One of the most important points raised is the use of relevant keywords in the content of your web page, for example, a business attempting to improve the Search Engine ranking of the website development and web design aspects of their company would use keywords like ‘website development’ and ‘web design’ as much as possible in their websites content.

Finally, the video also points out that anchor text is important, and provides excellent examples on what to do and what not to do. The video also discusses the importance of how long it takes to load the website, which as they say, the longer it takes to load the web page, the higher the possibility the user will simply click away.

Over all SEO is an important part of web development, a majority of users find new websites through Search Engines and as a web developer the whole purpose of your website is to be seen by as many users as possible, making Search Engine Optimisation incredibly important.

How to add a Style Sheet to your web page.

Cascading Style Sheet (CSS) is one of the most useful and powerful tools in a web developers arsenal when it comes to the formatting and appearance of a web page. Without it web development would be a far more boring, repetitive and inflexible experience.\

Although a web developer could potentially place their styles in the web page they are developing, this is not good practice. If the developer wished to add another web page using the same styles, they wouldn’t be able to, whereas if they had used a CSS file the work needed would essentially be nil.

To add a CSS file to your web page, it couldn’t be simpler, after you have created the file you simply have to add a single line of code into the HTML <head> tag.

<head>

<link href=”example.css” rel=”stylesheet” type=”text/css”>

</head>

Obviously, you will need to replace the word “example” with what you have called your CSS file. Any subsequent web pages which you wish to use the same styles only require that one line of code as well. CSS documents have made web development far easier for developers and will only continue to become more relevant.

How important is W3C compliance?

Testing a web page’s W3C compliance is a key element of web development, luckily for web developers the Wold Wide Web Consortium (or W3C) has an excellent tool for testing this at http://validator.w3.org/.

They provide a variety of methods to test your web page; you can validate it by providing the URL if the web page is live already. You may also upload a HTML document directly or validate it by posting the HTML code directly into the W3C site.

The validator is also useful for identifying errors in the code, as it not only says whether the web page is W3C compliant, but gives the web developer warnings on what parts of the code are preventing the web page from being W3C compliant. This is useful in allowing a web developer find small errors such as accidental absence of closing tags for paragraphs and the like as well as large errors. All of this makes the W3C validator a significantly important tool in the complicated process of web development and is not a tool that should be forgotten by web developers, professional or otherwise.

How important is W3C compliance? It is an interesting question, and extremely important in the world of web development, after all if the website appears correctly in one popular browser then why should it matter? It all comes down to industry standards, what one browser interprets bad HTML to be, could be completely different to what another popular browser does, resulting in possible incorrect formatting and an overall reduced aesthetic appeal for other users. If the standards are followed, then a W3C compliant web browser will have no trouble displaying what a web developer wants it to. Not only this, but it has been suggested by some that W3C compliant web pages are favoured over their non-compliant competitors by Search Engines.

In the end, W3C compliance is one of the most important aspects of web development, web developers should look at and following industry standards can only help a website.

Easily remove dbo from tables in Microsoft Access

When you link a Microsoft Access database to a MSSQL server it automatically adds dbo_ to all of the table names. This can be very frustrating if you are manually renaming this tables every time you re-link them.

Here is an easy step by step approach if you’d like to automatically remove the dbo prefix from the table names.

Step 1.
Create a new form in design view and add a new button.

Step 2.
Select the new button and go to the “Event” tab in the properties of the button. Change the “On Click” event to [Event Procedure] and then select the three dots icon next to it “…”
This will bring up the Visual Basic code editor.

Step 3.
Copy the code below before the “End Sub” tag.

Dim SQL As String
Dim DB As database
Dim RS As Recordset

SQL = “SELECT Name ” & _
“FROM MSysObjects ” & _
“WHERE (((Left([Name],4))=’dbo_’));”

Set DB = CurrentDb()
Set RS = DB.OpenRecordset(SQL)

If RS.EOF = False Then
RS.MoveFirst

Do Until RS.EOF
DoCmd.Rename Mid(RS!name, 5, 100), acTable, RS!name
RS.MoveNext
Loop
RS.Close
End If

Step 4.
Close the Visual Basic editor window and save your new form. Open the form in Form View and click the button you created.

All of your tables will now have been renamed without the dbo_ prefix. You can keep this form in your database to use when you link any new tables.