Web Accessibility – A Must Know

As a newbie in the Web Design Industry I’ve come across a variety of different information on other aspects of Web Design. Most recently I came across an article on the topic of Web Accessibility which basically means people with all types of disabilities can use the Web also. I found this article on the uiAccess; uiAccess is an online resource for universal interface design and usable accessibility information. It has books as well as other resources online. The article I read was titled Understanding Web Accessibility which covered different aspects of Web Accessibility such as the why it is necessary, which users this affects, different approaches, and benefits.  This article was written by Shawn Lawton Henry who works at the W3C and leads worldwide education and promotes web accessibility for people with disabilities book titled Just Ask: Integrating Accessibility Throughout Design which offers ideas on how to develop products more usable for everyone.

Understanding Web Accessibility discusses people with a variety of different disabilities such as vision impaired, hearing impaired, even those who cannot move their arms or hands and how they are able to use the Web just like everyone else through Web Accessibility. There are several examples the author references such as the Alt Text which allows people who cannot see images to view text instead, captions for audio, device independence which allows users to utilize different devices to navigate besides a mouse, and clear and consistent design. These four examples help those users who are deaf, blind, are unable to move their arms or hands, and those who have cognitive disabilities. Why is this useful? Well for starters by implementing Web Accessibility we offer equal opportunity for those who have disabilities and we can improve people’s lives. However Web Accessibility also refers to people with other types of disabilities such as older people, people with low literacy, people with slower connections or older technology, and new or infrequent web users. The article provides data and statistics showing detailed information on each of these.

After discussing different types of disabilities, the author discusses different approaches to Web Accessibility and how to implement that into ones design. For starters, she states that one must implement Web Accessibility as soon as they begin designing the website. Going back after the website is complete may cost more. The web designer must begin by understanding the different issues that they must accommodate to. One way to make this easier is to involve people with disabilities into your web design project. Shawn Henry also discusses different myths on Web Accessibility that can damage the success of a website if a designer simply based their knowledge off of these.  Lastly, she discusses a variety of benefits available for businesses through the use of Web Accessibility such as Technical and Financial benefits.

Overall the article was a good read as it taught me more on the aspect of accessibility for all users. I went searching online to find some websites and I found Miss Deaf World . The website was very Web Accessible especially for deaf people, and although there’s a video on the front page of the website, it didn’t have sound! By reviewing this website and looking back to mine, I see that there are a few changes that can be made to make it more accessible to everyone.




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