Continue reading to discover how accessibility can benefit you, as well as your visitors.
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 the provided services, buy the products, and talk with the people inside.
With web sites, the term traditionally refers to the 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 the World Wide Web, defines it as access by everyone, regardless of disability.
Even though the World Wide Web is continuously growing, many users:
Visual - blind, low vision, color blind;
Auditory - deaf, hard of hearing;
Motor/physical - paraplegic;
Cognitive/learning - dyslexic, learning disabled.
Accessibility increases benefits for both parties: the User and the Web site Provider.
- access the information;
- use the services;
- buy the products;
- talk to the people associated with each Web site.
In other words, satisfied users may become loyal users, continue using the web site, and even recommend to others.
1. Increase Market Share and Audience Reach
- Improve usability for non-disabled and disabled visitors;
- Support for Low Literacy Levels;
- Improve Search Engine listings and Resource Discovery;
- Support for the Semantic Web;
- Re-purpose content for multiple formats or devices;
- Increase support for Internationalization;
- Assisting access for low-bandwidth users.
2. Improve Efficiency
- Reduce site maintenance;
- Site Search Engine Improvements;
- Re-purposing Content;
- Address server-load;
- Address server-bandwidth.
3. Demonstrate Social Responsibility
4. Reduce Legal Liability
Here you can read the whole draft, about the auxiliary benefits of accessible web design.
The needs of this larger group can be more easily accommodated with simple and inexpensive design tips such as re-sizable text, large tactile buttons, and clear, easy-to-follow instructions.
We should try to look at things from the point of view of people who have disabilities.
For example, in the UK alone, there are 8.5 million people who are classified as having some sort of disability. That's a big percentage to exclude from the web; from a moral viewpoint, it is surely wrong, but from a commercial viewpoint, it is disastrous.
When designing web pages, try putting them through a text reader, like the ones used by those with visual impairment.
You will soon realize how difficult it can be for a user who cannot see that a new window has opened - hence the need to overtly tell users that a new window has indeed opened.
Apart from the moral and commercial considerations, there is also the legal. The United Kingdom enforces the Disability Discrimination Act, which requires all web sites to show that they have taken steps to enable access.
With a little bit of thought, accessibility is relatively easy to implement. It does not require you to do away with Java Script, Flash or other Multimedia features, just as long as you provide an alternative, so your visitors have a choice.