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It is a requirement by law to make your web site as accessible as possible to people with disabilities. There are 11 million disabled people in the UK and only 41% of those disabled people use the internet, this shows there is still a lot of progress to be made in this area. Website developers should aim to make their website as usable for as many people as possible. This will not only benefit disabled people but it will also increase interest and traffic to your site. There are a number of disabilities that people may be suffering with while using the web;

  • Blindness
  • Poor eyesight and Colour Blindness
  • Mobility Disabilities
  • Hearing impairment and deafness
  • Epilepsy
  • Cognitive/intellectual disabilities

Many technologies have been created to help these people use the internet. Technology such as Optical character recognition, screen readers, magnification software, adapted keyboards and voice recognition. Most operating systems have accessibility utilities built in, but there are still requirements of the web developer that allow these utilities to work. Like for instance using alt tags on all image on the site, so that the screen readers can recognise images.

In 2008 the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) sought to create a set of Web Content Accessibility guidelines (WCAG). The most current set of guidelines were published in 2008, which are called WCAG 2.0. This is the most widely accepted standard for Web Accessibility standards. Web 2.0 of four main principles:

  • Perceivable – Everyone should be able to perceive the information on the site. No information should be hidden to a certain type of users.
  • Operable – The entire website should be accessible. For instance a button that can only be clicked and not activated via any other such method is going to rule out people who can’t use the mouse.
  • Understandable – All information should be able to be understood by the user and the website should be predictable.
  • Robust – A website should act more or less the same on different devices.

Security

All websites face off attack by hackers. Hackers use robots to scan for weaknesses in website, then use more advanced methods to try and either

There are many steps that one can take to guard their site against cyber criminals:

  • Keep Software up to date – This applies for both for software running on your website such as a Content Management System, or the server operating system. If weaknesses are found in connected software, hackers can abuse them.
  • SQL Injection attacks – These attacks are when hackers use web forms or URL parameters to acquire the ability to makes changes to your database. If you don’t use parameterised queries then rogue code and be inserted into your query to delete data.
  • Protection against XSS attacks – Hackers can use a invalidated comment boxes to insert JavaScript which could then run on every other users browser and steal their login cookie. To avoid this you can use input validation which prevents users from adding special characters into fields.
  • Keep passwords strong – For all areas of your website, passwords should be complex, using numbers and capitals if possible. There may be many places where passwords are required, such as the server and website admin areas, but you can also insist on your users having strong passwords too.
  • Use HTTPS – HTTPS is a protocol that is used to provide security on the internet. It ensures that no one can interrupt or change content as the users are receiving it.

Most hacking attempts are to gain access to your server and use it to send spam, or to setup a temporary web server. Hackers are constantly looking for more and more ways to find holes in systems, and as technology continues to develop all the time, hackers will find new vulnerabilities.


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