Accessibility; it’s good for your users, and good for you.
Accessibility is a part of online development that is quite often overlooked by designers, developers and clients, but it is not overlooked by the 20% of Australia’s population estimated to be living with some form of disability.
For your website to be accessible, it must be built to be usable by people of all abilities, regardless of vision, cognitive, or mobility impairment.
Why should you care?
By making your website accessible you’re ensuring your message and products are capable of reaching the broadest possible audience. But even if accessibility isn’t a focus for you or your organisation, it is important to remember that accessibility doesn’t just benefit users with a disability. An accessible website is always more usable than an inaccessible website. Many accessibility features you see in an accessible website also benefit:
- People on slower internet connections
- Older internet users
- People on mobiles or tablets
- Internet newbies or people with poor computer skills
What can you do about accessibility on your site?
Do you have a website, but don’t know how accessible it is for users with disabilities? An accessibility audit can help.
Accessibility is governed by the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0, known as WCAG. Following WCAG there are three levels of accessibility, A, AA and AAA. An accessibility audit will tell you were your website sits on the accessibility spectrum, and provide you with recommendations as to how you can get it up to code.
Are you in government?
If you’re in government (whether local, state or federal) then accessibility isn’t just a recommendation, it’s a must.
Under the Disability Discrimination Act Australian government agencies must ensure that people with disabilities have the same fundamental rights to access information and services as others in the community.
Further to this, the National Transition Scheme dictates that all government websites have a minimum standard set for accessibility – from the end of 2012 all Government websites are required to meet at least WCAG Level A, and from the end of 2014 this standard is upgraded to meet WCAG AA.