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Western Kentucky University

Introduction to Web Accessibility

Introduction to Web Accessibility

 

What is accessibility?

An accessible website will be navigated and understood by everyone, regardless of disability, location, experience, or technology.

 

Who is affected?

An estimated 20 percent of the population in the United States (40.8 million individuals) have a disability and 10 percent (27.3 million individuals) have a severe disability. Users with disabilities can include cognitive learning, auditory, visual (including blind, low vision, and color blind), motor/physical, and speech. There are other technology-type disabilities that you may have to design for, such as a slow Internet connection, old browser, missing plug-ins, no speakers, and a small display (mobile phone).

Who else? Search engines! In many respects search engine spiders are the largest "Accessibility Needs" users on the Internet — crawlers don't use a mouse; crawlers can't see graphics; crawlers don't store cookies; crawlers don't use Javascript; crawlers don't use Flash. Crawlers can't properly index your site if it isn't accessible.

 

How do people with disabilities use the Web?

There are lots of ways that people with disabilities use the Web, since there are many different disabilities to consider. The deaf need captions, but this is also useful for people without speakers on their computer. The blind will use screen readers, such as JAWS. People whose vision has been compromised may use add-on tools to increase font size. Those with cognitive disabilities may take longer to process the information on a single Web page, so clearly-organized content helps greatly.

 

How do I get started?

Now that you are beginning to understand the wide range of people that are affected by usability, we have put together some standards and tips to help you get started. There is also a list of answers to frequently asked questions that we hope will ease the process and help you understand some more about accessibility in Web design.

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 Last Modified 9/25/14