Having a website that’s accessible means much more than simply putting a site online. It means making sure that you have a site that can be used by people of all ages and abilities so that they can get the maximum benefit from the Internet.
At the moment many if not most sites can be difficult for some people to access, but there are moves to make sure that the Web is more accessible so that people with disabilities can use it more effectively.
Why Accessibility Matters
The Web is increasingly central to our lives, whether for shopping, banking or accessing public services. Not being able to do these things online is a problem. However, the technology of the Internet makes it much easier to overcome the barriers presented by traditional print and audio visual media.
When designing a site it’s worth building in accessibility options, and companies like Swansea web designers Accent-adc will be able to advise you on what’s needed to do this. A well designed site needs to address a number of accessibility needs.
It should cater for the visually impaired, mobility difficulties, hearing problems and cognitive or learning difficulties. It should also avoid visual effects which may cause problems for people who suffer from seizures.
Technologies for Accessibility
There are a number of technologies that can be used to make the web and computers generally easier to use for people with disabilities. These include screen readers and magnifiers to help the visually impaired, speech recognition systems to help people who are unable to type, or specially adapted keyboards and mice to make access easier.
Websites can be designed to make use of all these things but can also provide features in themselves such as subtitles for video content, for example.
When specifying a website design in Swansea or elsewhere there are some official guidelines to take account of. There’s a British Standards code of practice for Web accessibility; and sites also need to comply with the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act. The Disability Rights Commission and British Standards Institution. Both offer guidance to organisations on what you need to do when commissioning an accessible website from a design agency.
The Equality Act of 2010 doesn’t refer specifically to website accessibility; however, it does make it illegal to discriminate against people with disabilities when anyone providing a service in the public, private or voluntary sectors.
If you have an existing website there are companies and consultants who will help you carry out an accessibility audit. This will help you see how well your website meets the requirements of various disability groups and identify any improvements needed. It may be possible to revise a website to make it more accessible without having to completely redesign it.
Ensuring that your site is properly accessible to all groups not only ensures that you don’t miss out on potential customers, it also has a positive effect on the image of your business.