What is Web accessibility?

Web accessibility

In the modern world the Internet is one of the main sources of information. For people with disabilities the Web gives the opportunity to participate in the society in ways that are otherwise troublesome or not possible.

Web accessibility implies that all people, including people with access needs or disabilities, are able to use the Internet. If to be more specific, web accessibility means that all people are able to understand, navigate, and interact with the Web.

Web accessibility makes the Internet accessible for people with visual, hearing, physical, speech, cognitive and neurological disabilities. Although these people have certain limitations, their willingness to engage with the Web and surf the net is not less than the eagerness of the general public.

These are some real examples of how people with certain access needs interact with the Web:

  • Some people cannot use their hands or arms. Instead, they use mouth sticks or head sticks to operate the computer.
  • Some people have tremors and the elderly have reduced motor skills, which makes it hard to use the mouse. These people prefer to use the keyboard.
  • Some people are blind and use the screen reader that reads the text on the screen out loud. Screen readers are also used by people, who can see well, but have problems perceiving written text, for example, people with dyslexia.
  • Some people have blurry vision and need to increase the font of the text to read it.   

However, Web accessibility is good not only for people with access needs. Web accessibility is common sense and logic that makes any webpage user-friendly and appealing to any audience. Poor navigation and inadequate color contrast annoys any user, but for people with disabilities these issues make the site absolutely inoperable. Web accessibility brings flexibility to the website and increases its usability. It allows to meet different user needs and reach a greater audience.     

Web accessibility = common sense

Source: Henry, S. L. (2006). “Understanding Web Accessibility”. Web Accessibility: Web Standards and Regulatory Compliance. Ch. 1.

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