About Web Accessibility for Disabled People

Braille

Most of us take web accessibility for self-granted. About 20 percent of people in the UK, however, do not access the web as easy because their disability prevents them from accessing the web by using the same technology than non-disabled people or understanding the communicated information.

Web accessibility aims to improve access to the web for people who have the following disabilities:

Blindness. The web is a visual media and people who are completely or partially blind often face obstacles when accessing the world wide web due to their disability. But with proper website code such as HTML providing textual equivalent to visual information, blind people can access information with the use of text-to-Braille hardware or text-to-speech software.

Poor eyesight and colour blindness. Just like blindness, poor eyesight and colour blindness can pose a major obstacle in accessing both textual and visual content. However, when text and images are enlargeable, they can easily be understood by people with poor eyesight. Clickable links which are at the same time also underlined or bolded and simultaneous use of both colours and patterns for instance, on the other hand, enable people with colour blindness to understand information even if it is communicated in colours.

Mobility disabilities such as difficulty to use hands, tremor, loss of fine motor skills, etc. People with a mobility disability do not have difficulties with the web content itself, however, they may face difficulties navigating the web. But when websites are coded in a way to allow access and navigation via keyboard or single switch device such as joystick for instance, people with a mobility disability can easily browse the web and access information just like everyone else.

Hearing impairment and deafness. Although web is primarily a visual media, its users also receive a valuable information from audio formats which, however, are of little or no value to people with hearing impairment and individuals who are deaf unless they include closed captioning or sign language. They allow people who are hearing impaired or deaf to receive the same information as individuals with perfect hearing.

Epilepsy. Flashing effects may improve visual appeal and attractiveness of the website, however, they can trigger seizures in people who have epilepsy. But this obstacle can easily be solved by prior warning for people with epilepsy or an option to turn off the flashing effects.

Cognitive/intellectual disabilities. People with a disability which affects memory, attention, ability to learn, solve problems, etc. often experience difficulties understanding the communicated information due to complexity of website design or its content, or both. But solutions such as readability, user friendly navigation, consistency, colour contrast, etc. which help them navigate the website and understand its content do not affect usability for non-disabled people. On the contrary, just about all users appreciate simplicity and usability.

Web accessibility for disabled people has improved considerably over the last few years due to legal regulations as well as increased awareness of the issue among website owners. Specialist legal companies such as Employment SOS helps clients who have been discriminated against in the workplace. Many popular websites, however, remain partly or completely inaccessible for disabled people despite the fact that the solutions are both inexpensive and simple.