Web Accessibility 101
What is Web Accessibility?
Web accessibility refers to the inclusive practice of making websites usable by people of all abilities and disabilities according to international web standards. Properly designing, developing, and editing websites and web tools give all users equal access to information and functionality.
Who is Affected?
Different disabilities affect people using websites and web tools including:
- Visual: Blindness, color blindness and low-vision caused by various eye conditions.
- Motor: Various forms of paralysis caused by injury, congenital conditions, and tremors.
- Auditory: Difficulty hearing, deafness and hearing impairments.
- Cognitive: Conditions that affect the brain’s memory, attention, or the ability to interpret information.
Which Accessibility Standards Should I Use?
The importance of digital accessibility goes beyond legal regulations including as 71% of web users with a disability will leave a website that is not accessible. The accessibility standard you should use to avoid this is the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0). The WCAG has 12 guidelines organized under four principles:
- Perceivable: Web content can be perceived by the user’s brain regardless of the senses they can use.
- Operable: Web content can be accessed and navigated regardless of the user’s devices.
- Understandable: Web content can be understood as efficiently as possible through simple language and contextual information.
- Robust: Web content can be accessed regardless of the user’s operating system, browser, and browser version.
The WCAG 2.0 works with three different conformance levels:
- A – Minimum Conformance Level
- AA – Medium Conformance Level
- AAA – Highest Conformance Level
What You Can Do Now
There are several steps you can take right now to begin your conformance journey, including:
- Check your site’s level of accessibility
- Verify proper heading use and logical site structure
- Add alt text to images
- Avoid using images with text overlay
- Make hyperlinked text identifiable out of context
- Rewrite instructions that focus on color or page geography
- Determine if your multimedia content has a transcript/captions
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