Web accessibility is defined as the accessibility of the internet to all. A key aspect of web accessibility is assistance with disabilities, making websites easier for people with disabilities or impairments.
Accessibility or digital inclusion is extremely important for those with disabilities. Every individual has the right to be included in society and access information that can help them live better lives. The lack of access to technology and web resources can be a barrier for those with disabilities.
This is where digital inclusion plays a vital role in assistive technology used by people who fit the working definition of having a disability. There are two important initiatives incorporated in web accessibility, the first one being digital inclusion.
The second initiative is accessibility testing. This effort has been directed towards improving websites for individuals with disabilities. The purpose of this test is to make sure that all technologies, including screen readers, are capable of perfectly understanding and interpreting website content.
Websites must pass the tests to meet certain guidelines and standards that allow them to be accessible. Having looked at the two important initiatives, here are three common practices used in web assistive technology for individuals with disability:
- Visual and Text Descriptions: Web Accessibility practices make web content more accessible to people with disabilities by providing text and visual descriptions on all website pages. This includes both images and videos. The current generation of web browsers allows users to toggle between these two options, making it easier to read or listen to the content they are after.
- Keyboard Shortcuts for Navigation: Shortcuts are an important element in web accessibility, especially when dealing with motor disabilities that prevent using a mouse effectively. Using the tab key on your keyboard allows you to navigate through all of the links on your screen while using the enter key allows you to activate the link of choice.
- Skip Navigation: Skip navigation is an interesting concept that assists people more prone to physical disabilities. It allows them to bypass reading through content they have already seen before. This includes page titles and graphics containing repetitive text, which can become difficult for those with low vision or reading difficulties.
By adopting these common web practices into creating your website, you can be sure that it has a better chance to become more accessible to those with disabilities. While it may not be possible for everyone to make their websites fully accessible to every type of disability, following best practices when developing your website does increase the likelihood that people with disabilities more easily navigate it.