What is Web Accessibility?
Web accessibility is a set of standards every website should adhere to, ensuring equal access and equal opportunity for people with disabilities. An accessible web can help people with disabilities participate in society easier. A key principle of web accessibility is keeping websites flexible to meet different user needs, preferences and situations. This flexibility also benefits people using a slow internet connection, people whose abilities are changing to aging and people with "temporary disabilities" such as a broken arm or temporary visual impairment.
The Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) guidelines are considered the international standard for web accessibility. The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) are an international set of standards for web content accessibility that meets the needs of individuals, organisations and governments internationally.
Accessible Website Design
When working on a web project, we always take web accessibility into consideration and work hard to achieve an easy-to-use website for everyone. When the Ireland Website Design team are developing or redesigning your site, we evaluate accessibility early on in the creation process. Throughout the development process, we keep accessibility problem solving at the forefront of our process.
What makes a website accessible? Common features of accessible websites include:
- Good use of HTML headings
- Effective use of color
- Meaningful link text
- Accessible with keyboard
- Images with text descriptions
- ARIA for web applications
- Accessible menus
- Accessible forms
- Accessible tables
- Assistive technology
- Screen readers
- Alternative keyboards
Who benefits from an accessible website?
Users with physical disabilities - this category encompasses a lot of different website visitors. Many people suffering from physical disabilities struggle to use a mouse or a keyboard. To help them use your website, you'll have to include different input methods and a friendlier website navigation.
Visually disabled users - this ranges from the colour blind to the fully blind. Visually impaired users can struggle with images without a text description or have trouble differentiating between design elements whose colours are similar. For visually disabled visitors, your website needs to perform well on a screen reader.
Users with hearing disabilities - do you use a lot of sound to communicate on your website? In order for your visitors to be able to get the full web experience of your brand, you'll need to add text descriptions, subtitles, sign language or images to communicate instead.
Users with cognitive and neurological disabilities - make your website as clear and concise as possible. In order to be accessible for your website's visitors that have cognitive or neurological disabilities, skip any complex design features or tricky navigation. Visitors should be able to pause or hide any automatic, moving or flashing elements.
Accessibility for all
Accessible web design has advantages for many other types of users:
- Users on mobile phones and tablets
- Users on Web-TV
- Users on kiosks
- Users on low bandwidth
- Users in a noisy environment
- Users with "screen glare"
- Users with a low literacy level
- Users browsing in a second-language
- Users with different learning styles