By Suvesan Pillay |
The Web is fundamentally designed to work for all people, whatever their hardware, software, language, location, or ability. When the Web meets this goal, it is accessible to people with diverse hearing, movement, sight, and cognitive ability.
Thus, the impact of disability is radically changed on the Web because it removes barriers to communication and interaction that many people face in the physical world. However, when websites, applications, technologies, or tools are badly designed, they can create barriers that exclude people from its use.
Accessibility is essential for developers and organizations that want to create high-quality online learning and digital experiences without excluding people from the opportunity to learn most effectively.
“The only disability is when people cannot see human potential.” ― Debra Ruh
What is Web Accessibility?
Web accessibility means that websites, tools, and technologies are designed and developed so that people with disabilities can use them. More specifically, people can perceive, understand, navigate, interact with, and contribute to the Web.
Web accessibility encompasses all disabilities that affect access to the Web, including:
Web accessibility also benefits people without disabilities, for example:
- people using mobile phones, smartwatches, smart TVs, and other devices with small screens, different input modes, etc.;
- older people with changing abilities due to aging;
- people with “temporary disabilities” such as a broken arm or lost glasses;
- people with “situational limitations” such as in bright sunlight or in an environment where they cannot listen to audio; and
- people using a slow Internet connection, or who have limited or expensive bandwidth.
Accessibility in Learning
The Web is an increasingly important resource in many aspects of life: education, employment, government, commerce, health care, recreation, and more. The Web must be accessible to provide equal access and equal opportunity to people with diverse abilities. Access to information and communications technologies, including the Web, is defined as a basic human right in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
The Web offers the possibility of unprecedented access to information and interaction for many people with ranging abilities. That is, the accessibility barriers to print, audio, and visual media can be much more easily overcome through web technologies.
Accessibility also supports social inclusion for people with disabilities as well as others, such as:
- older people
- people in rural areas
- people in developing countries
There is also a strong business case for accessibility. As shown in the previous section, accessible design improves overall user experience and satisfaction, especially in various situations, across different devices, and for a range of user demographics. Ultimately, accessibility can enhance your brand, drive innovation, and extend your market reach.
Beyond the business benefits of accessibility, it is important to always remember the end-user—the person who will be interacting with your website, learning program, training courses, etc. When accessibility is put at the forefront of technological design, everyone benefits.
Data Analytics Lead at Construct