Web page accessibility refers to the method of ensuring that websites are accessible to people of all abilities / disabilities. With correct designing, development and editing, a website can provide equal access to information and functionality for all people. Google also takes these guidelines into consideration when ranking a site.
In 1999 The World Wide Web Consortium (WC3) published a list of web accessibility guidelines (entitled the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines WCAG 1.0.) The guidelines set out a series of instructions in order to make accessibility a priority for web developers, who are now expected to code a website with meaningful HTML. This list has become widely considered the definitive guide to constructing an accessible website.
An example of one of the guidelines instructions is ensuring that textual equivalents are provided for images and that meaningful descriptions are entered for links, enabling blind users using text-to-speak software and text-to-braille hardware to have a greater online experience.
Other specifications in the Web Accessibility Guidelines include:
The correct building of a site can make it as accessible as possible for people with a range of disabilities, whilst not impairing the user experience (UX) for non-disabled users. At the moment there are three tiers to web page accessibility. By default a professional web development agency should create all of their websites to an A standard, and should be open to building to AA and AAA when required (it is very rare for a site to need to comply to AAA standards. This is mostly reserved for Government sites as the level of accessibility is extremely high and therefore can be expensive to build).
In December 2010 the British Standards Institute (BSI) release an updated code of practice specific to the UK. These particular web accessibility guidelines effectively describes what is expected from a website, in order that it complies with the UK Disability Discrimination Act (1995). This list is an imperative guide for anyone responsible for web product creation within an organisation, and would also assist those responsible for creating or managing the online content.
The WC3 – an international community made up of member organisations, staff and the public – continue to evolve and develop the way in which organisations can provide web page accessibility, whilst ensuring a high standard of web page accessibility standards.Tags: Responsive Web Design