title:Website Accessibility Why it Matters
"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:
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
Its 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.