People with disabilities often use assistive technologies and/or adaptive strategies to browse and interact with web sites and applications. Following global accessibility coding standards allows web professionals to deliver the same information and interaction to people with disabilities as to any other user. This is design that is “accessible” to all. When inclusive design practices are not followed, many people have difficulty or are unable to access the content and function of web sites. These are “inaccessible” experiences.
Studies show that sites that are designed for accessibility drive innovation, improve a company’s brand, increase market share, and minimize legal risk. Some common techniques to ensure accessibility include:
- Provide alternative text for image content
- Ensure all function can be operated from the keyboard
- Avoid generic “click here” link text; use descriptive word or phrase instead
- Forms and other functional elements are clearly labeled in the code
- Audio and video content is captioned and described
For a full exploration of this topic, see the Introduction to Web Accessibility at W3C/WAI.