The internet has come a long way in a relatively short period of time in terms of ease of use and efficiency. Search engines have been perfected to give as many as tens of millions of specific results within a matter of seconds or even less. For the most part, even internet users with very minimal skill can navigate and find information, make purchases, upload, download, and do pretty much everything else online quickly and easily. Most websites today are now fairly user friendly for the average user. But one area that is lagging way behind is “Accessibility.” Website Accessibility is a term used to describe a site’s accessibility for people with disabilities and impairments.
People who have hearing, visual, and even certain other physical and cognitive impairments can find it all but impossible to use many websites. Even though a person may be set up on their end with all the necessary hardware needed to translate content into a format that they can use, if a given site is not set up to be accessible then they will not be able to use the site.
Think about it this way, in South Florida there are a large number of retired and elderly people, many of whom have mobility challenges. If a person cannot walk and has to use a wheelchair and they need to get into a building that doesn’t have a wheelchair ramp or such access, then they will not be able to easily get into the building if at all. Or if a visually impaired person were to try and operate an elevator but the elevator had no brail instructions they would most likely not be able to operate it.
The same principle holds true for accessing web content. A large number of the population has disabilities and impairments which make it difficult or impossible for them to use websites which have poor website accessibility.
But those people are all potential customers and users of your website. So making your site as accessible as possible can open it up to a whole new user base.
The Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) offers many guidelines and techniques as well as other resources for improving website accessibility. Making a website accessible can be simple or complex, depending on many factors such as the type of content, the size and complexity of the site, and the development tools and environment.
Evaluation tools are available to help determine how accessible your site is, but there’s no substitute for having expert website developers do the job. Dsquared Media is one such development and consulting team that offers all aspects of website design and they can work with you to insure that your site is as accessibly as it can be.
Web Accessibility Initiative WAI https://www.w3.org/WAI/about-links Guidelines and Techniques http://www.w3.org/WAI/guid-tech
Making a Web site accessible can be simple or complex, depending on many factors such as the type of content, the size and complexity of the site, and the development tools and environment.
Evaluation tools https://www.w3.org/WAI/ER/tools/
Basically, this is the ability of a website to be used by people with disabilities, including visually impaired visitors using screen readers, hearing impaired visitors using no sound, color blind people, or those with other disabilities. A website with low accessibility is basically going to be impossible for those with disabilities to use. Accessibility is particularly important for sites providing information to those with disabilities (healthcare sites, government sites, etc.), though it is an important aspect to consider when designing any site.