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The Ins and Outs of Website AccessibilityThe Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires that Title III entities, public accommodations, be accessible. Accessibility is normally thought of applying to physical accommodations. But it also applies to the websites associated with these businesses.
But why be accessible? The whole point of the ADA is to make the world more accessible to persons with various abilities. Statistics show that more than 50% of internet users have some type of disability that makes it difficult for them to use the Internet. This says that a universally designed website is essential to the success of a website. It is therefore necessary for specific limitations to be considered when designing a website.
Physical disabilities: They may not have the full use of their arms or hands making it difficult for them to use input devices sucha as a keyboard or mouse.
Vision Impairments: It can be difficult for these to see the information on a website. They may need to see it in different sizes, contrast or have it read and/or described to them.
Hearing impairments: They are unable to hear audio recordings, videos, cues, etc.
What makes an accessible website. Here is a list of accessibility accommodations that should be used in website design:
• Ensure the website has a clean layout for its content and navigation. Everything should be organized first with a title and followed by the information. The design should remain consistent throughout the site. These accommodations are important for persons with screen-readers. They will quickly lose interest if they have been able to understand and have learned the layout of the site and have to start the process all over on the next page.
• Ensure the language is clear and easy to understand. Use correct spelling and grammar, include a glossary if technical jargon is used, include pagination and/or a table of contents if articles span multiple pages, use a legible font preferably sans-serif, and use a different color font that stands out for links.
• Use sufficient color contrast in text and images on your website. This makes it easier for persons with visual or mental disabilities to read the information.
• Make the site navigable for someone using just a keyboard. Persons with visual and physical impairments use their tab button, arrow Keys, Enter, and other keyboard shortcuts or devices that rely on similar keyboard function to navigate through web pages. Use accessible menus and drop-downs and organize the tab order. Check forms and enable "audio CAPTCHA, or alternative method, for codes that must be entered to complete a form submission.
• Use alternative text (Alt tags) for all images and visual content on your website. Alt tags describe what is seen in the image or visual aid. These must be individually evaluated and changed so that they make sense to someone with disabilities.
• Use proper alternative captioning for any videos and/or include a transcript.
Make sure your mobile websites also use valid CSS and HTML with clear and concise language
• Use clean valid CSS and HTML that conforms to the W3C guidelines. Without this the navigation through a website may become difficult and impossible. Also do not let the site be heavily dependent on CSS Styling since many use their own styling sheets to make it easier for them to read and understand pages.
(World Wide Web consortium) tests for errors.
• Test your site for accessibility. Use WebXACT or The Wave, automated testing tools, to ensure the sites overall accessibility.
The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the main international standards organization for the World Wide Web, has established a set of guidelines needed to cater to different disabilities. Use these for a complete definition of the previous guidelines.