Web accessibility refers to the inclusive practice of removing barriers that prevent interaction with, or access to websites, by people with disabilities.
Web accessibility refers to the inclusive practice of removing barriers that prevent interaction with, or access to websites, by people with disabilities. When sites are correctly designed, developed and edited, all users have equal access to information and functionality.
It can be a site coded semantically meaningful HTML, with textual equivalents provided for images and with links named meaningfully which helps blind users using text-to-speech software and/or text-to-Braille hardware. The texts are large and/or enlargeable, which makes it easier for users with poor sight to read and understand the content. Color blind users can easily notice those links that are underlined as well as coloured.
So web accessibility is about making websites easy to use for as many people as possible. And already the market for disabled is untapped and huge (1.1 billion). When the Web is accessible, many people with disabilities can communicate, interact, and create online much more easily than in the physical world.
So apart from Accessibility supporting social inclusion for people with disabilities, there is also a strong business case for accessibility. Accessibility overlaps with other best practices such as mobile web design, device independence, multi-modal interaction, usability, design for older users, and search engine optimization (SEO).
Case studies show that accessible websites have better search results, reduced maintenance costs, and increased audience reach, among other benefits.
Web accessibility is important not only for individuals and for society but also for governments and for businesses.
An accessible website is often the easiest way to do business with many people with disabilities, for example, people who cannot read print material, people who have difficulty getting to a physical store, and others.
Accessible websites also work better for older users with age-related accessibility needs. “Elderly people” are becoming an even more important customer base for most organizations, as the percentage of older users is increasing significantly.
Accessibility is required by law in some cases, and making your website accessible reduces the risk of costly legal action.
- Enjoys financial gains and cost savings from increased web use due to increased potential market share, search engine optimization (SEO), and increased usability.
- Reduces risk of legal action, high legal expenses, and negative image.
- Enjoys public relations benefits of demonstrating Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
- Benefits from an inclusive workplace that supports employees with disabilities.
- Increases productivity from supporting and retaining older employees and their experience.
A web design business might emphasize:
- Competitive advantage and financial benefits of being able to meet increasing requests for accessible web design and development.
- Technical benefits and long term financial benefits to clients of providing sites according to web standards.
- Public relations benefits of being able to support clients’ interests in demonstrating social responsibility.
A small to medium-sized enterprise (SME) relying on e-Commerce might emphasize:
- Positive impact on search engine optimisation (SEO) from accessibility improvements.
- Importance of an increasing market among people with disabilities and older people who may significantly benefit from accessible online shopping.
- Increased general usability and trustworthiness of online shopping interfaces from improved accessibility.
- Reduced risk of legal action and negative publicity from not complying with anti-discrimination legislation.
So let us empower and enable people to participate in society through the Web. There are so many people for whom interacting in the physical world is really tough, yet interacting with an accessible Web is easy. If not for anything else, companies should have web accessibility in the self-less interest for the good of the humanity.