Accessibility – Are you thinking about everyone?

Web accessibility relies on the importance of making a site usable for everyone. This means that people with some type of disability could use a website, regardless of their competences. The main goal should be to achieve universal and usable sites for everyone.

Different types of disabilities must be taken into account: visual, hearing, physical, cognitive, neurological, behavioral problems and even speech.

Web accessibility also benefits organizations and individuals without impairments. Elderly people whose motor skills decreased as a result of age, or people who suffer a temporary disability, such as a broken arm.

The uses of the web crosses people in different ways. It is not only a hobby, but also covers different aspects of daily life, such as education, employment, government, commerce, health, entertainment and many others. If a site is not accessible, a significant portion of the population is discriminated against it.

Providing equitable access and equal opportunities should be a priority in web design and development to help everyone participate actively in society.

Accessibility starts from the beginning with the awareness that not all users access the Web with the same technical or perceptual means.

The World Wide Web Consortium is an international community where organizations work together to define protocols, develop standards and create Web accessibility rules.

In these guidelines, the W3C explains in detail, and by levels, what corresponds as right and wrong for a site to be accessible.

There are many testing tools, however none are as concrete as human evaluation. Therefore, it is always necessary to test the accessibility of a site with real people.

It is estimated that 15% of the world population has a type of disability. Nowadays, most sites are not accessible, creating obstacles for a large number of individuals. It is important to think about this possibility from the beginning, otherwise it usurps the independence and freedom that the web offers to people.

The vast majority of designers and developers do not intend to discriminate. For this reason, we must be aware and put into practice the rules to ensure that the content of a site can be used by a larger population.

There are a lot of advices to achieve an accessible website. However, a single parameter should not be enough for this to be guaranteed, but they are a good starting point.

To start with a web focused on accessibility, W3C provides its Short Guide to create accessible websites based on ten tips.

“The power of the Web is in its universality. Access by everyone regardless of disability is an essential aspect”. Tim Berners-Lee. World wide web creator.