The Importance of Web Accessibility for Everyone

Posted / 12 October, 2021

Author / Enginess

The Importance of Web Accessibility for Everyone

Some people believe that web accessibility is not a concern for everyone and that it only needs to be taken into account for those with disabilities. However, the truth of the matter is that by definition, web accessibility benefits everyone. Web accessibility means that there are no restrictions on who can access information on the internet equally, despite age or disability.

Web accessibility stems from our need to work together in an international world where people have different backgrounds and language skills- thus making it essential to take into consideration how these differences may affect their experience while using your site.

Web accessibility benefits everyone because it allows people with disabilities to access information much more easily. Right now, if you were to try and use Facebook (which is one of the most popular websites in the world) with a screen reader (for example, JAWS or NVDA), you would not be able to complete your goal. If you were to try and use more complicated websites like Gmail or Pinterest, you would not be able to simply understand how to navigate through the site (literally at all). With web accessibility for people with disabilities, they will be able to access information on your website easily and effectively. Not only that, but it benefits everyone by making their online experience easier as more sites become more accessible to people with disabilities.

Web Accessibility Benefits Everyone

By the very definition of the word "accessibility" web accessibility means that everyone ought to be able to access information on the Internet equally. There are no restrictions based on age, physical or mental abilities, language skills, etc. The whole idea stems from the fact that this is an international world and people need to work together for the common good of mankind.

However, you may be wondering whether this is really a valid concern. My answer to that would be "yes". Here's my story: I am in my early 20s and I have never been totally able-bodied. Although it has not hindered me from doing anything major, the fact remains that at some point or another my physical abilities have been a hindrance to me. Of course, it is only a minor inconvenience and I have no reason to complain about it - but the point I am trying to make is that even if you are healthy as a fiddle, you still should consider the needs of those who may not be. Especially considering that currently there are more people on the Internet than the total population of the planet, which is over 7 billion people.

There are a few things that web designers and developers should keep in mind when they design or develop a website. These include:

The last one may seem obvious, but I will give you an example to make clear what I am saying: A deaf person wants to visit your website. However, they do not know if it has any information about hearing loss or the like. When they open your website's homepage, all they can see is a video autoplaying on your webpage (please tell me this is not one of those sites - I'm looking at you, Facebook). The problem is that no visual element or words are available to them to clarify that the page discusses hearing loss. If they do not hear anything due to their hearing impairment, then there is no way for them to know what information to expect from your website.

I hope I have made my point clear now. Please remember that web accessibility is not about letting disabled people do everything that the non-disabled people do. It is about making sure that they don't get left out, and trying to ensure that everyone has equal opportunities when accessing information on the Internet.

Web accessibility means that there are no restrictions on who can access information on the internet equally, despite age or disability. It does not matter what age you are or what your physical or cognitive disabilities are, you should be able to access the world wide web just like anyone else. This way, everyone can share ideas and communicate with one another about the same things. It is important that all people in this world have equal opportunity to learn, explore and educate themselves.

Now that we've defined what web accessibility is, let's look at some methods for making websites and applications more accessible. The following are the most common ways to ensure a website or application is accessible:

  • Provide meta-browser information: Ensure that your product provides user agents and other browser information so users of all browsers can access your site.

  • Make use of WAI-ARIA: This provides a more advanced solution to making your site accessible to all users who may need assistive technologies such as screen readers. There are more solutions like this which you can explore for yourself on Google or other search engines.

  • Ensure that your product's code is compliant with the WCAG 2.0 guidelines: When you use your product's code on your website, ensure that it comply with the WCAG 2.0 guidelines. This will help users to access all of your content and functionalities without any problems or restrictions.

  • Present alternatives for multimedia objects: If you use an audio file as part of your site's design (for example, for sound effects), ensure that the file is accompanied with an alternative text version so users can know what they are not hearing.

  • Use clear language: If you use technical or specific language in your product's design, ensure that there are also alternative ways of explaining the same thing in simpler terms. This way, you can accommodate all users who may not understand the technical jargon.

  • Do not restrict your content: Ensure that you do not restrict any of your products' content so users can access them if they want to skip certain parts, go back, or just simply read through everything in order

  • Make JavaScript/AJAX alternatives available: If your product uses JavaScript/AJAX, ensure that there are also alternative ways of interacting with your product, such as a link to a printable version or an email address which users can use to ask questions if they have any problems.

  • Provide captions and subtitles: If you include multimedia content in your site design (such as video), provide text transcriptions or captions so users with hearing impairments can understand what they are seeing.

  • Use keyboard-only controls: If you include interactive features in your design (such as games), ensure that users can access them by using just the keyboard without having to use a mouse

  • Ensure that your product provides sufficient contrast: This is very important and sometimes forgotten because it appears that people are only supposed to be viewing your product on a computer screen. The thing that you should always remember is that everyone will be accessing your site in all sorts of lighting conditions, so it is important that your website provides sufficient contrast to remain visible under all circumstances.

  • Obfuscate personal and contact information: This has become increasingly common for some websites. If you wish to provide a number for people to call or an email address to contact, make sure that these numbers and/or addresses cannot be used by the public to track down and find more information about your personal or company information.

  • Make sure that your product is compatible across browsers: Ensure that your design works in different browsers so all users can access it.

  • Use proper grammar and spelling: Ensure that your product is written properly in English or whatever language you use so users do not have to guess what your message means. This is also useful when people translate your product for other markets, such as Japan.

  • Mark up lists and tables: If you use lists or tables in your design, make sure that they are properly marked up so users do not accidentally skip over some of your information.

  • Ensure that all content is available in HTML: If you plan on displaying something as part of your product's design (for example, a full banner ad), make sure that there is also an HTML version which the user can access by clicking a link so it can be skipped and they can easily access the information that they want.

  • Avoid using audio as warning: If you use some kind of tone or sound to indicate that something is wrong with your design, ensure that there is some other way of letting users know about this problem (such as a red flashing screen which appears for a few seconds).

  • Make it easy for users to contact you: If your website includes a link or a button that users can click on to email you, make sure that this feature is readily available and its purpose obvious. Try not to make people search for it as many may not be able to find where the information they need is located.

  • Ensure that your product is accessible by all devices: This refers to any computer, tablet, or phone which users may be using. It is important that your website will look the same regardless of what device it is viewed on.

The main reason why web accessibility is so important is because it benefits everyone. Everyone should be able to access information on the Internet equally, whether or not they are using assistive technology. The design of websites should always be universal and focus on the user's needs rather than technological limitations (which may vary from user to user). Web accessibility is the international language of the Internet as it focuses on everyone coming together for a common goal.


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