An introduction to the important topic of Accessibility and Web Sites - with explanations of the steps that you are now legally required to take when preparing your site. You can also find further information on accessibility in the regulations section of this site.
With the implementation of the Special Educational Needs and Disability Act (SENDA), from September 2002, it is now a legal requirement to take steps to ensure your Web Site is accessible to disabled people.
There's a huge amount of very clear, very useful information about accessibility on the Web. The reason its there is to encourage Web developers to think about the users of their Web Sites. Not everyone who visits your site is going to be viewing the pages from exactly the same context as you and as such you are required to make a 'reasonable' efforts to provide and prepare for these potential differences. Examples (from W3C) of different contexts include:
Clearly some of these are harder to make allowances for than others but at a bare minimum you should be thinking about doing a site that is clear in its use of language and visuals, won't look strange if viewed on different sized monitors or on an Apple Mac and will load properly for people with 56k dial-up modems. Its not hard to test these criteria if you ask around and find people who will let you view the site you are developing on their machines.
The other steps you should take to make your site meet basic accessibility criteria are here (taken from the W3C site - link) and include:
In the next section we discuss how to validate your site for accessibility.
You can also download a PDF of the top ten tips for designing accessible Web pages