Why is Accessibilty Important?
I know people often cringe when they hear about Web Accessibility. They’ve heard the myths that claim web accessibility is hard or that it costs too much, but it’s really not so bad! Hear me out and I will also add a bunch of handy links so you can learn more.
Implementing accessibility standards is actually pretty easy. Especially if you practice accessibility when you start a new project. It also lowers costs by reducing bugs and interoperability issues, reducing development costs and problems integrating with other systems, and also lowers the risk of getting sued for discrimination (all pluses to me).
Here are a few Reasons Web Accessibility is awesome
If you can achieve level A standard set by AODA you have not only opened up your audience by at least 30% but you are also making the great google bot happy by inadvertently improving your sites SEO. And in my experience as a Developer the first thing a client asks is how to rank well on Google. Another great thing is that when you decide to have an accessible website you’re making the experience for everyone else more enjoyable. All the information is laid out in a way that is intuitive and easy to navigate. I mean, that’s all great stuff right? Stay with me.
Types of Disabilities to Think About in Web Accessibility
- People who are Blind / People with Low Vision
- Labelling your HTML correctly. Label your forms input areas, using Alt Text for your images, Video Captions, Label your buttons/links correctly, and use ’em’ values for your text.
- People who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing
- Provide a transcript for any audio features on your site or if it’s a video make sure you provide captions.
- People with Mobility Related Issues
- Make sure clickable areas are not too small, if you have any functional elements on your site make sure these elements can be controlled by the keyboard. Also make sure that if you are using time limits leave a comfortable amount of time for all users to finish the task.
- People with Learning or Cognitive Disabilities
- Avoiding complex or advanced language, inconsistent navigation, time limits and unstructured content.
- Also avoid text justification. Make sure all your images have alt text. Make sure your visual content has some handy text descriptions.
Learn more about making your site accessible by visiting the AODA website
Web Accessibility Links:
Canvas.net this is where I’m currently taking my free online web accessibility training. Worth checking out.
AODA is the Ontario Web Accessibility Standard
WCAG is the American Web Accessibility Standard
Here is a link to a previous post where I give 9 Easy ways to Improve Web Accessibility
Check out the EU Internet Handbook and find out the 10 Golden Rules in Web Accessibility Design.
Below is a Video created in Australia that demonstrates why Accessibility is fun and important!
I hope this information helped you look at Web Accessibility in a more attainable manner. I highly recommend the Canvas.net Web Accessibility Certification course. This course gives you all the tools you need to perform an accessibility audit and become a better developer by having properly labelled code that you (or anyone else) can understand 6 months later.