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Website Accessibility Why it Matters

title:Website Accessibility – Why it Matters

author:Sarthak Aggarwal

source_url:http://www.articlecity.com/articles/web_design_and_development/article_637.shtml

date_saved:2007-07-25 12:30:20

category:web_design_and_development

article:

"The power of the web is in its universality. Access by everyone regardless of disability is an essential aspect." Tim Berners-Lee, Director of W3C.

The article covers:

• What is website accessibility

• The need for website accessibility

• Why website accessibility matters

• Improving website accessibility

Website accessibility Definition

We define website accessibility as the ability of a website to be used by all, irrespective of mode or disability.

The ever growing Web is home to immense information. Responsible web content contributors make efforts to have the website information accessible regardless of what mode the visitors are using to access the website and of disabilities.

Website Accessibility: The Need

Web is a huge resource that is accessed by people with different accessing devices and disabilities.

Different devices may include:

• Different graphic browsers (Opera, Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer etc) and their different versions

• Reading devices like JAWS etc

• Text-only browsers etc

Different disabilities may include:

• Blindness

• Paralysis

• Alzheimer’s disease

• Dyslexia

• Lack of hearing etc

Even situations like loud and crowded place, lack of an audio device at hand can lead to website inaccessibility.

Not being able to serve your audience with the information they need is a handicap that must be avoided. Making the website accessible not only addresses the needs of users with disabilities but also caters to user preferences and situations.

Website Accessibility benefits

Website Accessibility Guidelines were released in May, 1999 and yet larger part of the web still inaccessible to many. Here are a few reason why you should be part of the Web that follows website accessibility standards:

• It promises equal opportunity to all on the Web

• It enhances web user experience

• It makes your website more usable

• It makes your website more manageable

• You can reach a broader audience

• It can improve your conversion rate by 100% (http://www.useit.com/alertbox/20030107.html)

• It makes you a responsible web content contributor

• Web Content Accessibility Guidelines require so

• It’s a law in many jurisdictions (http://www.w3.org/WAI/Policy/)

• Denying access to all can be seen as discriminatory and may land you into expensive lawsuits

Improving Website Accessibility

Improving accessibility features depends on the tools used to develop the site and the design itself. While it may be possible to improve a few features, it is not possible to implement all features if the site was not designed flexibly.

Nonetheless, all efforts should be put towards making the website as accessible as possible.

Making the website accessible to all would endorse the universality of the Web. When we create a website, we are reaching out to the global audience. By creating a website which adheres to accessibility standards, we are respecting our audience and the web space.

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