Value of Making Accessibility a Priority

By making your website accessible, you are ensuring that your potential users, including people with disabilities, have a quality user experience and are able to easily access your information.  By implementing accessibility best practices, you are also improving the usability of the site for all users.

W3C, the international web standards community, notes that, “accessibility overlaps with other best practices such as mobile web design, device independence, multi-modal interaction, usability, design for older users, and search engine optimization (SEO). Case studies show that accessible websites have better search results, reduced maintenance costs, and increased audience reach, among other benefits.”

Source: usability.gov - https://www.usability.gov/what-and-why/accessibility.html


Accessibility and the Law

Laws and standards

If you live in the United States, applicable laws include The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504 and Section 508). Many international laws also address accessibility.

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) provide an international set of guidelines. They are developed by the Worldwide Web Consortium (W3C), the governing body of the web. These guidelines are the basis of most web accessibility law in the world. 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.

These first letters of these four principles spell the word POUR. This may help you remember them.

Source: WebAIM Introduction to Web Accessibility