It’s really important to make all web content as accessible as possible.
What is web accessibility?
People who have a disability want, and rely on web content just like anyone else, but they can only access it, if websites and mobile apps have been designed and developed with different capabilities in mind.
Making web content accessible means making sure that it can be accessed by everyone, and that you are not excluding anyone with barriers such, as impairments to their;
- motor (physical disabilities)
- cognition (when a person has trouble remembering, learning new things, concentrating, or making decisions that affect their everyday life)
Who benefits from web accessibility?
According to the Department for Work and Pensions Family Resources Survey (2018 to 19) (external website), there are at least 14.1 million disabled people in the UK. The survey shows that in the UK;
- 8% of children are disabled
- 19% of working-age adults are disabled
- And 44% of pension age adults are disabled
And according to the Labour Force Survey April to June 2020 (external website), there are more than 4.1 million disabled people in work in the UK.
Temporary and situational disabilities
On top of those figures, many people have a temporary disability, like an arm or hand injury or a situational disability which is an impairment caused by where a person is or the circumstances they are in, like a parent holding a baby.
Web accessibility benefits everyone
Web accessibility doesn’t just help people with impairments, accessible websites usually work better for everyone, as they are often faster, easier to use and appear higher in search engine results.
A lot of people who don’t have a disability often use online features that have been put in place for those with disabilities, like captions on videos or navigating a website using a keyboard.
What does web accessibility involve?
The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) (external website), are an internationally recognised set of recommendations for web accessibility, which are based on making web content;
To make web content perceivable, it should be available to people using it with different senses, so take the following into account:
- Can someone with a visual impairment understand any non-text content, like images or videos?
- Is a website easy to get around?
- Can a person easily increase the text size on a webpage without the website breaking?
Making web content operable, means making sure that people can use the content regardless of how they access it. Think about:
- Is there enough time for someone with cognitive disabilities to complete a task?
- Can people navigate through content using only a keyboard?
- Are tasks easy to complete?
As well as making web content available to different senses and providing an easy way to get to it, it also needs to be understandable. You should consider:
- Is all text easy to understand?
- Are all abbreviations explained?
- Have you provided clear guidance to help someone complete a task?
Having robust web content involves making sure it can be used by different browsers, web-enabled devices, and assistive technologies. You should take into account:
- Can screen readers understand the content?
- Does the content display properly on different devices?
- Has a website been developed with best practices, for example, does it use clean HTML?
Making web content accessible is really important and most public sector bodies must meet website and mobile app accessibility regulations.
When creating any web content, try to make it as accessible as possible and think about those people who have different impairments and how they may access it. Remember, some people will rely on the content being accessible so that they can get the same information and services as anyone else.