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What is Web Accessibility?

Web Accessibility for all - A person with cognitive impairment using a laptop - a lady sitting besides him

Web Accessibility is making the web usable to all. In today's digital age, the internet has become a part of our lives. From communication, research, entertainment to shopping and banking, we rely heavily on the information and services available online. But have you ever stopped to think if everyone can access and use the information available online or on the web? This is where website accessibility comes into play.

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Understanding Website Accessibility

Website accessibility is a concept that focuses on designing and developing websites and applications that can be easily navigated and understood by all users, including those with disabilities. It aims to eliminate barriers that might hinder people with disabilities from navigating, understanding, and interacting with the content or information available on the web.

Web accessibility encompasses various aspects, such as providing alternative text or description for images, pictures, graphs etc, creating keyboard-friendly navigation, ensuring compatibility with assistive technologies, and following established guidelines like the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). The goal is to make the web a more inclusive space, allowing everyone to fully participate in the digital world.

Must read WCAG 2.2 – What to expect as per January 2023 Update!

Why is Web Accessibility Important?

  1. Inclusivity: Website accessibility ensures that everyone, regardless of their disabilities and has equal access to online information and services.
  2. Legal Compliance: Many countries have implemented regulations and standards that require websites to be accessible.
  3. Business Advantage: Creating accessible websites can expand your audience and customer base thereby tapping into new markets and enhancing your brand reputation.
  4. Improved SEO: Implementing accessibility features can positively impact search engine optimization, potentially improving website visibility and ranking.
  5. Better user experience: Website accessibility enhances the overall user experience, making it more seamless for all online visitors.

Key Principles of Web Accessibility

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) serve as a set of internationally recognized standards developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) to ensure that websites and digital content are designed with accessibility in mind. There are four key guiding principles of accessibility upon which WCAG has been built.  These four principles are known by the acronym POUR for Perceivable, Operable, Understandable and Robust.

  1. Perceivable:
    • Provide text alternatives for non-text content, such as images, videos, and audio.
    • Ensure users are not relying solely on one sensory ability, so ensure that all information and functionality are presented in multiple ways.
  2. Operable:
    • Design navigation and functionality that can be operated using a keyboard or other assistive devices.
    • Provide users with enough time to read and complete tasks.
  3. Understandable:
    • Provide clear and consistent navigation thus making it easier to understand.
    • Use simple and straightforward language, avoiding jargon or complex terminology.
  4. Robust:
    • Ensure compatibility with current and future technologies, including assistive technologies.
    • Follow coding standards and best practices to enhance the longevity and adaptability of your website.

Want to check whether your website is accessible or not? 5 Free Must Have Web Accessibility Testing Tools

Building a digital future for all

In conclusion, web accessibility aims to provide equal access to information and services on the internet for people with disabilities. It is a critical practice that ensures accessibility, compliance with legal requirements, and ethical responsibilities. The WCAG guidelines provided by the W3C offer a comprehensive roadmap to create accessible web content. By implementing these guidelines and considering the diverse needs of users, we can remove barriers and create a more inclusive online environment for everyone.

With a focus on ensuring websites adhere to WCAG 2.2 and WCAG 2.1, BarrierBreak leverages its knowledge and experience to identify and rectify potential barriers, making digital platforms more accessible for people with disabilities. Write to us at sales@barrierbreak.com to take the first step in making your website accessible and inclusive.

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