Introducing Web Accessibility

Around 20% of people can’t access the information on your web site, and the other 80% could be having a much better experience.

Global Accessibility Awareness Day logo - orange globe on grey background

Today is the first Global Accessibility Awareness Day.
There is also a Facebook page.

Making sure your web site adheres to international standards (WCAG) and national  standards (NZ government) is a good start but won’t necessarily give you a truly accessible web site. Having an inclusive mindset towards accessibility and your users will also help.

Try a few simple things and take a little time to experience what a lack of accessibility means. Unplug your mouse, touchpad or trackpad and try navigating around your site.  Using the keyboard only (tab/shift tab, arrow keys, enter and spacebar) navigate and interact with your own or your favourite websites and applications. You may discover a few problems you never thought about. Blind people and people with some physical impairments don’t use a mouse.

One accessibility problem I often encounter is poor contrast between text and background.  It is a very common problem on many web sites. No matter how much those of us with low vision enlarge the critical text or navigation poor contrast means it cannot be read. Some sites also create difficulty for people with colour blindness. Test the contrast on your own site using one of the testing tools available from Juicy Studio or Vision Australia.

Accessibility is not only about the technology or the design, important though they are. It is also about the content.  Analyse the language on your web site. How easily can it be understood by the average user?

Making web sites accessible to people who encounter particular barriers when using the Internet will mean a better user experience for everyone.

5 Comments

Filed under Information Accessibility, Web Accessibility

5 Responses to Introducing Web Accessibility

  1. Mike

    A shame that the Global Awareness Day logo falls into the trap of having poor contrast between text and background.

  2. Yes. Guess it escaped their attention. I did make a comment on the Facebook page and hopefully they will fix it for next year.

  3. Hello, my name is Paul Kelly, and I am the webmaster of A-Sign Interpreters, Inc. We are a sign language interpreting agency, and our website is http://asigninterpreters.com. I was wondering if your site would be willing to place a link to our site in exchange for us placing a link to your site?

  4. This is such an important topic, and you’ve given some great tips. I need to have a good, long look at my own sites and see how they measure up to the standards. Thank you for the information.

  5. dragonlady

    It is indeed ironic about the contrast on the logo.

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