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Queen's University
 

Web Standards and Accessibility Guide

Designing for the web

Modern, accessible web site development is based upon the separation of content, structure, functionality, and design. For the designer, this means that all design elements are dealt with at a conceptual level, and applied as a "layer" overtop of the content and structure. This allows developers to keep the presentational aspects of a web site separate from its content and functional components. For example, a paragraph is always a paragraph, but the designer can specify that certain paragraphs "look" a certain way. This design control is achieved using Cascading Style Sheets - essentially style declarations for various page components.

In addition to being a modern technique, this separation is also good for workflow in environments where there are many people involved in the final production of a web site. At the very least, it is useful to have one person or group that sets and manages a base style sheet for the site. Content creators then need not worry about the way that their pages look - they only have to worry about what their pages say.

Designing Cascading Style Sheets is an art in itself, and this document is not the appropriate place to teach the skills required for producing them. However, all of the following standards and guidelines have been written based upon the basic tenant that all page designs at Queen's University will take advantage of this current technology; in fact the use of Cascading Style Sheets for design is itself an accessibility standard.

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