A Closer Look at Web Accessibility

Last time I posted about the importance of web accessibility. I mentioned how other users, aside from the disabled and partially disabled, could benefit from web accessibility. As a web designer though that is not very familiar with web accessibility you should realize that there is a pretty wide range of disabilities to address including:

  • visual impairments - whether full or partial blindness or colour blindness
  • motor disabilities - for those with problems with fine muscle control due to certain conditions like Parkinson’s disease, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, etc.
  • auditory problems - whether full or partial deafness
  • seizures - epilepsy is sometimes triggered when the screen frequency is between 2 to 55Hz
  • cognitive/intellectually impairments - users with learning disabilities such as dyslexia, dyscalculia, has poor memory and problem solving skills, etc.

Looking at the list above can be daunting. However, a web design provider really needs to address these issues especially if under the jurisdiction of countries that legally require web accessibility. As mentioned in the previous post though, the Web Accessibility Initiative is a good place to start informing yourself about the issue. There you will find everything from guidelines and techniques to evaluation tools.

As a web designer note though that your job is really only to follow the guidelines set by the W3C. You do not have to worry about the hardware part and other assistive technologies that will help the disabled in web browsing. By following the guidelines you can be assured that the website you have designed can be easily read by assistive technologies such as screen readers. Of course, since technology constantly gives better (or at least newer) solutions then it is important that you keep yourself up-to-date with the latest developments in web accessibility.

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