Accessibility is becoming increasingly critical to Internet experience. Is your site accessible to people with disabilities? Is it compatible with browsers other than Internet Explorer?
Continue reading to discover how accessibility can benefit you, as well as your visitors.
What is accessibility
It is a term that is more associated with architectural thought, rather than Web Site Design. There is a legislation, which determines minimum standards for new buildings. As a result, new buildings today often have wheelchair ramps, accessible lifts and disability parking spaces, allowing anyone with disabilities to gain access to a building, use provided services, buy products, and talk with people inside.
With web sites, term traditionally refers to development of sites that are accessible to "all" users who may want to access them -- in other words, "Universal Web Sites." Tim Berners-Lee, W3C director and inventor of World Wide Web, defines it as "access by everyone, regardless of disability."
Even though World Wide Web is continuously growing, many users:
* use speech browsers or eyes busy/hands busy, as businessmen in cars; * don't have latest graphical browsers and plug-ins; * surf with slow modems, or reside in rural or remote areas with limited access to Internet; * browse without graphics, using text-only browsers or subscribe to non-graphic services; * access in noisy, high- or low-light environments;
There are also many users with disabilities as;
* Visual - blind, low vision, color blind; * Auditory - deaf, hard of hearing; * Motor/physical - paraplegic; * Cognitive/learning - dyslexic, learning disabled. More at WebAIM: http://www.webaim.org/techniques/disability-types
Accessibility increases benefits for both parties: User and Web site Provider.
Users benefits from accessibility
Every user, regardless of physical, sensory and cognitive disabilities, constraints and/or technological barriers can:
* access information; * use services; * buy products; * talk to people associated with each Web site.
In other words, satisfied users may become loyal users, continue using web site, and even recommend to others. Providers benefits from accessibility
* Increase audience; * Improve maintainability and efficiency; * Improve and regain reputation; * Satisfy existing and future legal requirements; * and much more.
Auxiliary benefits of accessible web design
According to World Accessibility Initiative, providers have following benefits: