All web pages validate to W3C HTML 4.0 (mostly strict) recommendations and are being upgraded to XHTML 1.0 when revised. Structured and validated websites are more accessible than those less structured or not validated. No frames are used. In addition, our pages often include tags for acronyms, which are supported by some browsers, and abbreviations and quotes, that are not yet supported by current versions of most browsers, but will be very useful when browsers catch up.
Graphics are only used if essential for understanding the content. Engineering is a graphical rich subject and we have to use graphics. However the alt attribute and, if needed, other tags and attributes are used with each graphic so those who can not see them at least can gain some understanding of the concept of the graphic. Graphics are never used just to add glitz to the website. However, our logo at the top of the page and some navigation bar headings are graphics to make it easier for search engines to find us by removing word clutter from the website. This also helps remove word clutter from audio browsers.
Speed of loading is traded-off with file size. For example, problems are usually one file in order that a problem being worked can be printed and taken to the lab, annotated, etc. However, if the file gets too big, the bibliographic information, which is likely not needed in the lab, is stripped out to make two shorter and faster loading files. The exceptions are when a page search may be a useful feature, for example the vendor and book lists.
Style sheets are used for layout, not HTML hacks, and our style sheets are validated to W3C recommendations. The blockquote's tag is used to indicate a quote, not to indent a paragraph. Tables are minimized and used only where the content is best provided in table form. They are never used, except for the index.htm page, for layout. The pages are always viewed with style sheets turned off to make sure they degrade gracefully without affecting the content.
Accessibility to those with handicaps, including the visually impaired or blind and those who do not have or can't use a mouse, is improved by following the W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines with each page checked through the Bobby validation service provided by the Center for Applied Special Technology.
A two-link textual navigation bar is provided near the top of each page that takes you either to the home page or to the map page. A second-level-heading textual navigation bar or summary is then used where appropriate to take you to the second-level headings in the page. A three-link textual navigation bar at the bottom of each page, and sometimes throughout the page, takes you to the home and map pages and adds the option of returning to the top of the page.
The home page is a top-level hierarchy that often takes you to a second tier hierarchy menu page. The hierarchy is contained both in a textual bar of links near the top and bottom of the page and in the text that describes the website. By returning to the home page, you can drill down into the site and find the content that falls under the hierarchy of interest.
The map page is a map of the website that lists on one page every page in the website. It is structured so that the second level headings match the hierarchy on the home page, but you can access any page on the site from this page.
It is expected that some will prefer the navigation offered by the home page and others will prefer the navigation of the map page. Either should get you to any content in the website with a minimum of link traverses.
World-Wide Web Consortium (W3C)
W3C HTML Validator
W3C Stylesheet Validator
W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines
Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST)
CAST Bobby Validator for accessibility
HTML Writers Guild (HWG)
HWG Accessible Web Authoring Resources and Education (AWARE)
HWG Assistive Web Technology Laboratory (AWARE)