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What Is Accessibility?

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Simple Explainer on Accessibility

Accessibility in web design means making websites that everyone can use, including people with disabilities. Imagine a website as a building. Just like how buildings have ramps for wheelchairs, websites need special features so everyone can use them easily.

For example:

  1. Texts and Pictures: Websites should have descriptions for pictures and videos, so people who can’t see well can understand what’s on the screen through a special tool that reads the text out loud.
  2. Big, Clear Words: The text should be easy to read, with big letters and good contrast (like black text on a white background), which helps people who have trouble seeing.
  3. Easy to Use with Keyboard: Some people can’t use a mouse, so websites need to work well with just the keyboard.
  4. Videos with Captions: For people who can’t hear, videos should have captions (words on the screen) to explain what’s being said.
  5. Works on Any Device: Websites should be easy to use on phones, tablets, and computers.
  6. No Flashing Lights: Avoid things that flash a lot, as they can be a problem for some people.

Making websites accessible means everyone can get the information they need, shop, learn, and do more online, no matter what their abilities are. It’s like making sure everyone can join in and use the internet in their own way.

Technical Explainer on Accessibility

Accessibility in the context of web design and development refers to the strategies, standards, and practices implemented to ensure websites are usable by individuals with a broad range of disabilities. This encompasses auditory, cognitive, neurological, physical, speech, and visual impairments.

Key components include:

  1. Semantic HTML: Using HTML elements according to their intended purpose aids screen readers and other assistive technologies in interpreting page content.
  2. WAI-ARIA (Web Accessibility Initiative – Accessible Rich Internet Applications): A technical specification from the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) that provides a framework to improve the accessibility and interoperability of web content, especially for dynamic content and advanced user interface controls developed with Ajax, HTML, JavaScript, and related technologies.
  3. WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines): A set of guidelines developed by the W3C to provide a standard for web content accessibility that meets the needs of individuals, organizations, and governments internationally.
  4. Responsive Design: Ensuring that web content is accessible and functional across a range of devices and screen sizes.
  5. Keyboard Navigation: Designing websites to be navigable using a keyboard alone, catering to users who cannot use a mouse.
  6. Contrast and Color Accessibility: Designing with adequate color contrast and not relying on color alone to convey information, which assists users with color blindness or visual impairments.
  7. Text Alternatives: Providing text alternatives for non-text content (like images) helps screen readers and other assistive technologies.
  8. Multimedia Accessibility: Providing captions for videos and transcripts for audio content to aid hearing-impaired users.

The goal of web accessibility is to create an inclusive digital environment that provides equal access and opportunity to people with disabilities, aligning with the broader principles of universal design.

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