Thursday, October 18, 2007

What's 'Accessibility'?

Accessibility, here in respect to "web" as a medium, has crucial role to play when offering information / content / multi-media content to end-users of all kinds.

"Web Accessibility " can be described as "a practice of creating usable websites for people with all kinds of abilities and 'disabilities'. When websites are created with all such aspects where the core concern is the end-user, the site can be made more better. This includes several aspects like 'usability, user experience (UX) & accessibility.

How a site can be made to get considered as "accessible"?

  • A website can be made accessible if the site is completely coded with sensible HTML where are the images have proper, descriptive 'alt' tags which, in case blind people, reads out the content with "text-to-speech" softwares or text-to-Braille applications built to aid them to understand the content available on the respective site.

  • If the website has the capability of increasing the font-size or are made flexible enough to increase or decrease the font size using built-in capabilities of a browser, it helps people with poor sight to read the content they need.

  • Also, if the website has all the links in colors (as most of them are using CSS nowadays) as well as 'underlined'; they can be quite easily understood by the people who are 'color-blind'; where these links can be seen very easily being 'underlined'.

  • If a website is defined as accessible when they are designed in such as fashion that they can be easily accessed by the disabled user, using only a single device like 'keyboard' or even a 'single switch device' which is designed for an person who can not use even a keyboard or mouse.

Some basic guidelines from W3C website will take you quickly through this "to-dos" to build an accessible 'website'. (ref: )

  1. Provide equivalent alternatives to auditory and visual content.
  2. Don't rely on color alone.
  3. Use markup and style sheets and do so properly.
  4. Clarify natural language usage
  5. Create tables that transform gracefully.
  6. Ensure that pages featuring new technologies transform gracefully.
  7. Ensure user control of time-sensitive content changes.
  8. Ensure direct accessibility of embedded user interfaces.
  9. Design for device-independence.
  10. Use interim solutions.
  11. Use W3C technologies and guidelines.
  12. Provide context and orientation information.
  13. Provide clear navigation mechanisms.
  14. Ensure that documents are clear and simple.

You can go through "Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0 (" to get more insight on the same.

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