The Web must be accessible to provide equal access and equal opportunity to people with diverse abilities. Indeed, the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities recognizes access to information and communications technologies, including the Web, as a basic human right.
Accessibility also benefits people without disabilities. The Web Accessibility Perspectives video shows examples of how accessibility is essential for people with disabilities and useful for everyone in a variety of situations.
There is also a strong business case for accessibility. Accessibility overlaps with other best practices such as mobile web design, device independence, multi-modal interaction, usability, design for older users, and search engine optimization (SEO). Case studies show that accessible websites have better search results, reduced maintenance costs, and increased audience reach, among other benefits.
Examples of Web Accessibility
Alternative Text for Images :
Images should include equivalent alternative text (alt-text) in the markup/code.
If alt text isn't provided for images, the image information is inaccessible, for example, to people who cannot see and use a screen reader that reads aloud the information on a page, including the alt text for the visual image.
When equivalent alt text is provided, the information is available to people who are blind and people who turn off images (for example, in areas with expensive or low bandwidth). It's also available to technologies that cannot see images, such as search engines.
Some people cannot use a mouse, including many older users with limited fine motor control. An accessible website does not rely on the mouse; it makes all functionality available from a keyboard. Then people with disabilities can use assistive technologies that mimic the keyboard, such as speech input.
Transcripts for Audio:
Just as images aren't available to people who can't see, audio files aren't available to people who can't hear. Providing a text transcript makes the audio information accessible to people who are deaf or hard of hearing, as well as to search engines and other technologies that can't hear.
It's easy and relatively inexpensive for websites to provide transcripts.
How to Make Your Website and Web Tools Accessible:
Most of the basics of accessibility are fairly easy to implement. However, if you are new to accessibility, it takes some time and effort to learn the common issues and solutions. Here are places to start:
- Accessibility Principles — introduces accessibility requirements and international standards
- Easy Checks - A First Review — helps you start testing the accessibility of a web page and understand some common accessibility barriers
- Tips for Getting Started — provides some basic considerations for designing, writing, and developing
Some accessibility barriers are more complicated to avoid and the solutions take more development time and effort.