With more and more countries around the world passing blind and disabled Internet access laws (including the Disability Discrimination Act in the UK), Web accessibility has been put in the spotlight of the online community. This article tries to end the misinformation that was launched and tell the truth behind the accessibility of the Web.
- Creating an equivalent text only is sufficient
Creating a separate text equivalent can lead to several problems:
- A text-only version is not necessarily accessible
- Two versions of the same site represent a huge investment in time and money for you
- Your main site may not be available to many users
- An 'extra' site accessible to blind and disabled users may be another way to make them feel marginalized from mainstream society
Web accessibility is not just about blind and disabled users who can use your site - it's about everyone being able to access it successfully. You really do not need to spend a
lot of time or money to make your site accessible.
- It's complicated and expensive to make my site accessible
Developing a website accessible from scratch will cost practically the same as developing a website that is not accessible. A very large and highly inaccessible website may take a little more time and money to fix, although the basic layout and design generally do not have to change.
Web accessibility is not complex, and anyone with basic web design assistances can easily implement it.
- Handy and attractive web design cannot go together
Many proponents of accessibility on the Web tend to have rather boring and unattractive websites. This is unfortunate, since accessibility on the Web does not have to affect the design of the site in any way.
- Affordable websites stifle creativity
Web accessibility essentially places a small number of restrictions on website design. In fact, just like on regular websites, you're only limited by your imagination when creating accessible websites.
- Visitors to my site have no problem accessing my site
Not necessarily. To see just how many Internet users, you can be deleted from your site.
You can be sure that with 35 million websites to choose from, it is unlikely that a site visitor who is prevented from accessing your website will be wasting time contacting you to ask you to correct the problem.
- Web accessibility restricts web page design
Not at all. As with regular websites, you are only limited by your imagination when creating accessible websites. The size of the text can be as large or small as you want (as long as it is scalable), you can use whatever color scheme you want (as long as color is not the only way to differentiate information) and use as many pictures as you like is provided).
These accessibility conditions happen mainly behind the scenes and do not affect the presentation of the site.
- Blind and disabled do not use the Internet
In contrast, blind and disabled people benefit from the Internet perhaps more than anyone else.
For example, people with visual impairments need to call a supermarket when they want to shop to inform them of their arrival. When they get there, a shop assistant will escort you through the store. Through accessible websites, blind people can now shop at home and at their own time.
Accessibility on the Web is not a celebrated science. It's not just about disabled users being able to access your website, but everyone's access to your website, including people who use portable devices, WebTV, and car browsers. Any web developer with basic knowledge of HTML and CSS design and a little time on their hands can easily learn and implement accessibility on the web.
The author is associate editor at Bravens Inc., Specialized Workforce Solutions Provider Company in the United States