Minz. Out of the box

Minzweb Accessibility Policy

The Minzweb Accessibility Policy requires that all pages at Minzweb.de be developed in consideration of people with disabilities and/or people with limited or restricted Web access.

The policy is based upon the BITV - Barrierefreie Informationstechnik Verordnung, published 07/17/2002 by the German department of state and the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), published by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), 05/05/1999.
The WCAG defines three levels of Checkpoints (Priority 1, 2 and 3 - called single A, double A and triple A).
Minzweb requires the Single-A compliance, and some distinctive checkpoints from Priority 2 and 3. All Minzweb accessibility requirements are described in detail below.

The BITV is split into two priorities. Although Minzweb.de is a non-government Website, it tries to fulfill all priority 1 checkpoints. Checkpoints that are not met will be highlighted.

Minzweb's Required Accessibility Features

The following list provides detailed information on how to comply with the Minzweb Policy.
The applicable Guidelines of either the WCAG (version 1.0) or the BITV are indicated.

1. Provide text equivalents for non-text elements

Make use of the ALT attribute for images and imagemaps. For complex images (animations, charts etc.) use the LONGDESC attribute or provide a link to a descriptive page (d-link). Offer text-equivalents for all types of multimedia files

[WCAG 1.1, 1.3, 1.4] (Priority 1) / BITV 1.1, 1.3, 1.4 (Priority 1)

2. Do not label solely with color

If color is used to indicate important information, be sure you also use markup to clarify the importance, i.e. use the STRONG or EM element, or describe it in context.
The same goes for colored images. Ensure that they can be viewed and understood in monochrome.

[WCAG 2.1] (Priority 1) / BITV 2.1 (Priority 1)

3. Identify language changes.

Screenreaders and other assistive technologies have different libraries for different languages. A German phrase pronounced according to English "rules" may lose all meaning. Use the LANG attribute (and likely the SPAN element) to identify a language change, such as <span xml:lang="de" lang="de">Dies ist ein deutscher Satz.</span>.
[WCAG 4.1] (Priority 1) / BITV 4.1 (Priority 1)

4. Make sure pages are usable without style sheets.

Minzweb.de relies heavily on stylesheets for visual presentation, and use of CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) is highly encouraged. However, older browsers and many adaptive technology browsers may not support stylesheets, so it's important to make sure that the pages can still be used without CSS. For example, if CSS is used to position elements on a page, those elements might appear visually in one order using CSS, and out of order if CSS is turned off. You can test this by using a non-CSS browser or by turning off CSS in your browser and seeing if the page is still usable.
[WCAG 6.1] (Priority 1) / BITV 6.1 (Priority 1)

5. Update equivalents for generated content.

If a page is autogenerated in some way, the textual equivalents (if existent) for that page should be in sync with the visually oriented content.
[WCAG 6.2] (Priority 1) / BITV 6.2 (Priority 1)

6. Don't make the screen flicker.

Flashing or strobing screen effects can trigger seizures in people with photosensitive epilepsy. These kinds of effects should never be used on Minzweb.de.
[WCAG 7.1] (Priority 1) / BITV 7.1 (Priority 1)

7. Use plain, understandable English/German.

Minzweb.de focuses on technical issues about Web design. Jargon and technical terms, which may not be understandable to everyone, are sometimes used. Therefore, these terms should be defined when first used or a glossary/reference link should be provided, if the meaning is not clear from the context.
[WCAG 14.1] (Priority 1) / BITV 14.1 (Priority 1)

8. Use client-side imagemaps, not server-side.

Client-side imagemaps are supported by all current browsers and have many accessibility benefits when used appropriately. Server-side imagemaps may be used in addition to client-side maps, but should never replace them. A text equivalent list of links should be provided for all imagemaps.
[WCAG 9.1, 1.2] (Priority 1) / BITV 9.1, 1.2 (Priority 1)

9. Use XHTML 1.0 table markup on data tables.

For tables that express tabular information -- content laid out in columns and rows -- use XHTML (Extensible HyperText Markup Language) 1.0's features that associate cell content with column and row headers. For more on this, see the HTML (HyperText Markup Language) 4.01 Specification (remember, XHTML is a reformulation of HTML 4.0).
[WCAG 5.1, 5.2] (Priority 1) / BITV 5.1, 5.2 (Priority 1)

10. Frames should have NOFRAMES and TITLEs.

Minzweb.de avoids using frames whenever possible. If frames are used, a valid NOFRAMES element should be set, and each frame within the frameset should have the TITLE attribute set. For example, "Navigation Links," "Current Document" and "Help Functions" as titles in a theoretical three-panel frameset.
[WCAG 12.1] (Priority 1) / BITV 12.1 (Priority 1)

11. Don't rely solely upon scripts and applets.

Not everyone will be able to execute a Javascript/ECMAscript script or a java applet. For this reason, alternatives need to be provided and scripts should still be usable when Javascript is disabled. For example, if a script verifies form input before sending, using Javascript, the form should still function when the user is unable to use to Javascript (or has it purposely disabled), and the server should still perform input field verification. If a script or applet can't be made accessible, an alternate way to perform the same function should be created (i.e. server-side scripting).
[WCAG 6.3] (Priority 1) / BITV 6.3 (Priority 1)

12. As a last resort, make an alternate page.

Alternate text pages should rarely, if ever, be necessary. If you find some rare circumstance in which you can't make a page that degrades gracefully, you should consider creating a second version of that page. This is dangerous because alternate pages have a tendency to get out of sync with the "inaccessible" page very quickly. Also, because the HTML standards are backwards-compatible and forwards-accessible, there should be no need in any but the most extreme cases for an alternate page. Therefore, alternate pages should be avoided on Minzweb.de.
[WCAG 11.4] (Priority 1) / BITV 11.4 (Priority 1)

13. Use stylesheets

No presentational markup will be allowed in documents. Use stylesheets in a proper and valid way to control layout and presentation.

[WCAG 3.3] (Priority2) / BITV 3.3 (Priority 1)

14. Use header elements to convey document structure

Use headings to identify the structure of the document and be sure to describe in a meaningful manner what the following paragraphs are about. Be sure you use headings in a correct order.

Never use headings for layout purposes.

[WCAG 3.5] (Priority 2) / BITV 3.5 (Priority 1)

15. Avoid pop-ups

Do not create links that rely on scripts and open content in another browser window.
If you use markup to create content in a new window, inform the user about it (i.e. Link opens in new window!). Keep in mind, that the target attribute is deprecated in the XHTML Strict DOCTYPE.

[WCAG 10.1] (Priority 2) / BITV 10.1 (Priority 1)

16. Avoid deprecated features

Use only features described in the most current version of the languages you might use. Refer to the W3C.

[WCAG 11.2] (Priority 2) / BITV 11.2 (Priority 1)

17. Do not use tables for layout

This is based on WCAG/BITV checkpoint 5.3, recommending not to use tables for layout purposes, but allowing them when they make sense in a linear way.

Minzweb.de goes further and does not allow layout tables at all.

18. Use device-independent event-handlers

If you have to use scripts triggered by event-handlers, make sure they can be accessed by multiple devices.
Example: Use onselect rather than onclick, or offer event-handlers for other devices, i.e. onkeypress

[WCAG 6.4] (Priority 2) / BITV 6.4 (Priority 1)

19. Explain abbreviations and acronyms

Offer a written expansion or use the appropriate markup, like acronym.
This also helps users whose first language is not the same as the language of the Web site.

[WCAG 4.2] (Priority 3) / BITV 4.2 (Priority 2)

20. Provide shortcuts to important links

To help users easily access the most important links, be sure to define keyboard shortcuts using the accesskey attribute.

[WCAG 9.5] (Priority 3) / BITV 9.5 (Priority 2)

Testing and validation

All pages at Minzweb.de must pass W3C HTML and CSS validation (URL: http://validator.w3.org/).
Regarding accessibility, at a minimum, be sure to check all documents at Bobby. Bobby is a comprehensive Web accessibility software tool designed to help expose and repair barriers to accessibility and encourage compliance with existing accessibility guidelines.

In addition, refer to the checklist above. Use of an off-line tool, such as A-prompt, is also recommended to assist in evaluation and repair. A-Prompt (Accessibility Prompt) is a software tool designed to improve the usability of HTML documents by evaluating Web pages for accessibility barriers and then providing developers a fast and easy way to make necessary repairs.


In order to document standards and to demonstrate appropriate usage, every page at Minzweb.de must be labeled with the following icons.

Valid HTML/XHTML as provided by the W3C. Example:
Valid CSS as provided by the W3C. Example:
State the compliance to one of the three WCAG Priorities, using the icons provided by the W3C. Example:
State the compliance to the Minzweb Accessibility Policy. Example:
If a page does not meet the Minzweb Accessibility Policy requirements, this must be labeled as well. Example:


This document applies to all pages at Minzweb.de and all future pages which will be developed by Minzweb.
The policy was written on 04/24/2003 by Minz Meyer.

Last revised: 06/16/2003