While ringing in the New Year, I had for the first-time ever a clear vision and direction for the year: to share what I do know about web accessibility with fellow bloggers to build an accessible and inclusive blogosphere. But, what is web accessibility?
For the most part, people understand the need for ramps, elevators, high contrast signage, flashing fire alarms and the such to make the physical world accessible to people with all types of disabilities. But accessible websites? Isn’t surfing the web simply “point and click”? For some individuals, no, using the web is not quite that simple.
Like how people may enter your store using a wheelchair, walker, crutches or a guide dog, readers may visit your blog using assistive technologies (specialized hardware and software), mobile devices (i.e. iPhones and Blackberries) or even a dial-up connection.
Web accessibility enables all individuals to utilize websites and blogs, regardless of their personal capabilities or the technology they use.
Physical accessibility also benefits people without disabilities; for example, how many delivery guys hit the automatic door opener rather than trying to hold the door open while wheeling the cart through? Or, how many parents pushing baby strollers welcome curbcuts when crossing the street? Similarly, web accessibility also benefits people without disabilities.
Last month social media strategist Chris Brogan, who lives and breathes the web, sent the following sarcastic tweet when the Flash version of his bank’s website would not load for some unknown reason:
Because his bank also had a HTML-only version, an accessibility must for these types of situations, I found him the link and Chris was able to access the information he needed. (Note: perhaps the link to the HTML version needs to be in a more prominent location!)
Web accessibility benefits nearly everyone without most people realizing it until they cannot do something they want to.If you enjoyed this post, consider buying me a cafe mocha. Thanks kindly.