Everyone uses the web.

Every day, people of varying race, gender, and religious standing surf the web. The experience of Internet browsing is relatively universal. This is true for most demographics, excluding one particular group of individuals: those with disabilities. This post will provide a brief overview of the concept of web accessibility, its importance, and how it is achieved.

What is Web Accessibility?

The Web Accessibility Initiative states web accessibility allows disabled individuals to, “…perceive, understand, navigate, and interact with the Web, and that they can contribute to the Web.” Moreover, web accessibility encompasses visual, auditory, and neurological impairments. For example, individuals with visual impairments can utilize programs like Dragon dictation, which reads the text of web pages aloud. According to WebAIM, other programs allow for site navigation through the use of eye movements, which is useful for those with motor impairments.

Dragon Dictate Logo

Why is Web Accessibility Important?

Think of web accessibility as a digital handicap parking space. Specific guidelines are followed by websites to allow disabled individuals to attain what the Web Accessibility Initiative calls, “…equal access and equal opportunity” on the Internet. Web accessibility goes beyond leisurely web browsing, however. Accessible websites provide assistance for disabled individuals in professional environments. Thus, web accessibility is significant for personal and professional functions.

How can a site become web accessible?

Washington.edu provides a list of ways to ensure a website is accessible. For one, HTML code must be able to translate properly through accessibility programs. This can be accomplished through validators, which read the code of a page to verify it can be read by accessibility programs. Washington.edu also advises websites to run checks of their sites with disabled users. This provides a site “test drive” of sorts. Finally, sites like WordPress have specific themes to help a personal site become accessible to those with disabilities.

 

A stick man falling out of a wheelchair. Above him is text reading,

 

Wrapping Up Web Accessibility

Web accessibility is of the utmost importance for those with and without disabilities. Ensuring your website is accessible is necessary to provide a suitable browsing experience for individuals with impairments. Moreover, checking your site for proper accessibility is as simple as running a URL through an online program. Taking these simple steps provides a proper Internet experience for all.

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