The importance of web accessibility has been on the rise in recent years, as the internet has become an increasingly important part of our lives. There are a number of reasons for this, but the most important one is that the internet is now essential for many aspects of modern life, including education, employment, and social participation. This means that people with disabilities who cannot access the internet are at a significant disadvantage. Web accessibility is, therefore, important for two reasons: 1) To ensure that people with disabilities can access the internet and 2) To ensure that the internet can be accessed by everyone, regardless of their disability. Let’s start with the basics…
Web accessibility refers to the ability of people with disabilities to access the internet. Each type of disability presents its own challenges, but there are also many ways to overcome these challenges. With the right support and accommodations, people with disabilities can lead full and successful lives. Here are a few of the most common disability types:
Visual impairments can make it difficult to see and process information. This can make everyday tasks like reading and writing more difficult. Approximately 285 million people around the world have some form of visual impairment, including 39 million who are blind and 246 million with low vision. Allow users to adjust font size manually. Provide sufficient contrast using colors and textures. Provide alt text or descriptions for non-text content.
For deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals, your site needs to be easy to navigate. Provide multiple contact options. Make sure to add captions or subtitles to all video content. Review any automated captions for accuracy.
Cognitive disability ranges from dyslexia to autism. People with cognitive impairments are limited in the way and manner they receive information from the web. Use well-structured web content that helps facilitate orientation. Include multiple ways of navigating the website i.e. hierarchical list or search bar.
There are multiple international and national laws and standards that require websites to be accessible to people with disabilities:
There are also a number of voluntary guidelines and standards, such as:
These laws provide guidelines for how web accessibility is measured. Let’s break down those guidelines even further…
When making your website more inclusive, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) are a great place to begin. These protocols are designed specifically to make online content more usable for people with disabilities, and are informed by four principles:
There are a number of steps that you can take to ensure that your website is accessible to people with disabilities.
Here are 5 tools you can use to test the accessibility of your website:
For more tips on website testing, check out our recent blog on the topic.
The importance of web accessibility cannot be understated. It is essential for people with disabilities to access the internet, and for everyone to be able to access the internet regardless of their disability. Need help crafting an accessible website? The experts at J. Arthur & Co. have you covered!