What is Web Accessibility?

Web accessibility means:

  • Videos have captioned text, so that those with hearing impairments can still get the message you are trying to communicate.
  • All links use descriptive text; instead of “click here” or “read more”, your link is “Here is a list of our staff” or “list of our programs,” for instance.
  • Within the HTML for a web page, all photos and graphics have “alt” tags, allowing someone with a sight impairment to hear, via their screen reader, what graphics and photos are on a page.
  • All text that is within a graphic is also represented as text somewhere on the page; for instance, the name of the organization may be a part of the logo, but it should also be found as text on the page, so someone with a sight-impairment can find the name of your organization.
  • There is not a need for a mouse in order to navigate web site or online feature.
  • There is not a need to hold down two buttons at once to choose something from a menu.
  • Color contrast between text and background, allowing someone with low vision or impairments regarding color perception to be able to read the information.

People with a disability may use assistive technology to navigate the web. Examples include:

  • Screen reader software, which can read out, using synthesized speech, either selected elements of a page (such as just the hyperlinks) or can read out what is happening on the computer, so the user knows that, for instance, a search is underway, or there is a slide show of photos scrolling through the page.
  • Braille terminals, consisting of a refreshable braille display that renders text as braille characters (usually by means of raising pegs through holes in a flat surface) and either a mainstream keyboard or a braille keyboard.
  • Screen magnification software, which enlarges what is displayed on the computer monitor, making it easier to read for vision-impaired users.
  • Speech recognition software that can accept spoken commands to the computer, or turn dictation into grammatically correct text – useful for those who have difficulty using a mouse or a keyboard.
  • Keyboard overlays, which can make typing easier or more accurate for those who have motor control difficulties.
  • Access to subtitled or sign language videos for people with hearing impairments.

What are the costs of maintaining an accessible web site?

Designing a website to be accessible to people using assistive technologies and others with disabilities is very simple and costs nothing additional when having a website designed – so long as accessibility is built in from the beginning. Your costs for maintaining an accessible web site will be no more than maintaining a website that isn’t accessible.