HTML and CSS Reference
A person with visual difficulties may not be able to use graphical navigation buttons
and may use a screen reader device to provide an audible description of the Web page.
By making a few simple changes, such as providing text descriptions for the images and
perhaps providing a text navigation area at the bottom of the page, Web developers can
make the page accessible. Often, providing for accessibility increases the usability of the
Web site for all visitors. For example, text in high contrast to the background is easier
for everyone to read. As this text introduces Web development and design techniques,
corresponding Web accessibility and usability issues are discussed.
This wonderful technology called the World Wide Web provides us with information,
graphics, and music—all virtually free (after you pay your Internet service provider,
of course). Let's consider the following issues relating to the ethical use of this
Focus on Ethics
● Is it acceptable to copy someone's graphic to use on your own Web site?
● Is it acceptable to copy someone's Web site design to use on your own site or on
a client's site?
● Is it acceptable to copy an essay that appears on a Web page and use it or parts
of it as your own writing?
● Is it acceptable to insult someone on your Web site or link to their site in a
The answer to all these questions is no. Using someone's graphic without permission is
the same as stealing it. In fact, if you link to it you are actually using up some of their
bandwidth and may be costing them money. Copying the Web site design of another
person or company is also a form of stealing. The Web site http://pirated-sites.com pre-
sents a somewhat quirky look at this issue. Any text or graphic on a Web site is auto-
matically copyrighted in the United States whether or not a copyright symbol appears
on the site. Insulting a person or company on your Web site or linking to them in a
derogatory manner could be considered a form of defamation.
Issues like these, related to intellectual property, copyright, and freedom of speech are
regularly discussed and decided in courts of law. Good Web etiquette requires that you
ask permission before using others' work, give credit for what you use (“fair use” in the
U.S. copyright law), and exercise your freedom of speech in a manner that is not harm-
ful to others. The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) , http://wipo.int, is
dedicated to protecting intellectual property rights internationally.
What if you'd like to retain ownership but make it easy for others to use or adapt your
work? Creative Commons, http://creativecommons.org, is a nonprofit organization that
provides free services that allow authors and artists to register a type of a copyright
license called a Creative Commons license. There are several licenses to choose from—
depending on the rights you wish to grant. The Creative Commons license informs others
exactly what they can and cannot do with your creative work. See http://meyerweb.com/
eric/tools/color-blend for a Web page licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-
ShareAlike 1.0 License with “Some Rights Reserved.”