Accessibility is a fairly hot topic today. While our historical approach to creating websites meets some basic accessibility goals, accessibility is a deep topic.
Website Accessibility in a Nutshell
There are 4 main principles behind website accessibility; website content must be:
Items 1 - 3 above are pretty much self explanatory but item 4 requires this explanation from the World Wide Web Consortium.
Content must be robust enough that it can be interpreted reliably by a wide variety of user agents, including assistive technologies.
What this means is that websites need to work on various devices and be functional and provide helpful information etc. when a user is using assistive technologies. In other words, regardless of what the user is using to view or interpret a web page it must still be Perceivable, Operable and Understandable.
Website Accessibility Implementation Service
- We review your website carefully to determine how flexible the current design is. Sometimes a website is so bad we recommend starting from scratch.
- If a website is considered redeemable we interview stakeholders to determine the limitations of our efforts. In some situations some changes to a website may not be permitted by the ownership. In some cases the are legacy tools that are part of the website that may be excluded from the scope of work
- Create an Implementation Plan and provide a quote to improve the website's accessibility
- Optional - PDF Remediation can be included as part of the implementation (recommended)
- We submit a detailed report listing actions taken, reasoning and success criteria, as well as actions not taken with reasoning.
- Finally we provide guidelines for your staff or webmaster to avoid making your website less accessible in the future.
Why Creating Accessible Websites is Challenging
In short, the relentless march of technology. Most technology changes without considering accessibility, that applies to web design too. Every day there are new ways to do things and new things that websites can do. That is why less is more. Even fully able people prefer good design that is understandable, in a logical order, has sufficient contrast, etc.
One way to avoid accessibility problems is to be aware of some basic facts about how people use computers:
- Most accessibility programs us the tab key on the keyboard to navigate through the website and pages themselves
- There are three main kinds of color blindness
- Many people use screen readers (software that reads the content on your website)
- Some people use magnification software
- Many people use alternative input devices (head pointers, motion tracking, eye tracking, single switch entry devices)
Just knowing this much you can make educated decisions about design and how you present information on your website.