Accessibility, Web Content Accessibility (WCA), Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), Web Accessibility Initiatives (WAI), all these are terms that refer to online accessibility. So, have you ever wondered what this accessibility thing is all about?
I have done my Master degree on Web Content Accessibility. I find this topic very interesting, and that’s why I have given it a whole category on this blog.
So, here is the thing, I am planning to write a whole guide to accessibility, accessibility studies, guidelines, and tools. Those will be given in series. So, tune up for this website, follow us on any social media you like or on our RSS feeds to receive all our new content.
2. So, What is Accessibility?
According to Harper and Yesilada (2008), accessibility issues occur when people with physical disabilities are unable to interact, perceive, navigate, or retrieve information from a website or parts of it due to their disabilities. People who find it difficult to use pointing or clicking devices for instance will require an alternative way to navigate a website. Similarly, people with low visions would not be able to view bright colours and they would require specific sets of safe colours to be used in a website. Also blind people would require alternative means such as voice browsers to access graphical content which require textual presentations for each graphical object on a website.
3. Why Should I Care about this Accessibility?
Web content accessibility is not important only for people with disabilities. The focus goes way beyond this point. According to Thatcher et al., (2002), following web content accessibility guidelines (WCAG) would result in what is called the universal design which web developers are trying hard to achieve where the final product is available for people with different abilities and on different platforms and technologies. According to him, adhering to WCAG might be costly at the beginning especially when a revision of all old content is required. However, he mentioned that following these guidelines would save cost in the future as those guidelines do cater for future development of technologies and devices. Moreover, he added that adhering to web content accessibility guidelines can boost up corporate image and reputation by including links and logos of compatibility on curtain products which would show a sense of commitment to people needs.
Not Enough? Need some numbers? Follow up..
4. Accessibility in Numbers? (Statistics for online users disabilities)
So, you want facts and numbers? Here you go:
- According to (Kaye, 2000), one-quarter of people with disabilities have computers (USA)
- One-tenth of them use computers to access the Internet
- 15.1% of disabled population aged between 15-64 uses the Internet
- 2.2% of disabled population aged above 65 uses the Internet
- According to (GVU’s WWW User Survey, 1998), out of 5,022 valid cases, 3.6% had vision accessibility issues
- 1.6% had hearing accessibility issues
- 2.0% had motor accessibility issues
- 0.5% had cognitive accessibility issues
- 1.5% did not prefer to mention the type of disability
- 91.8% had no accessibility issues
Numbers don’t lie, and as we could see, there is a great number of disabled users online whom we must address in our designs and developments.
So, for this post, we have looked at accessibility definitions and the importance of compliance to it.
Next time, I would be talking about Web Content Accessibility Guidelines and some legal aspects of accessibility compliance. So, Tune up and stay updated.
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Harper, S., & Yesilada, Y. (2008). Web accessibility: a foundation for research. New York: Springer.
Thatcher, J., Burks, M., Heilmann, C., Henry, S., Kirkpatrick, A., Lawson, B., et al. (2002). Web Accessibility: Web Standards and Regulatory Compliance. New York: Springer.
Kaye, H. (2000). Computer and Internet use Among People with Disabilities. Disability Statistics Report 13. Retrieved 01-05, 2011, from http://dsc.ucsf.edu/pub_listing.php