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Accessibility and Usability

Accessibility is about making web content available to the widest possible audience; including, but not just those with disabilities as people often assume.

For web developers, this means being aware of the needs of all users that might visit your site and how people of varying abilities use their computers.

Benefits of Accessibility

Besides legal reasons, there are other advantages to having an accessible web site:

  • Shorter web page download times
  • Better search engine optimization
  • Multi-device support

Laws and Standards

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines developed by the Worldwide Web Consortium (W3C) are the basis for most web accessibility laws used globally. Version 2.0 of these guidelines, published in December 2008, are based on four principles:

  • Perceivable: available to the senses (vision and hearing primarily) either through the browser or through assistive technologies (e.g. screen readers, screen enlargers, etc.)
  • Operable: users can interact with all controls and interactive elements using either the mouse, keyboard, or an assistive device.
  • Understandable: content is clear and limits confusion and ambiguity.
  • Robust: a wide range of technologies (including old and new user agents and assistive technologies) can access the content.

Improve Your Web Site

WebAim WAVE Tool (for Firefox)

Writing for the Web