W3C

Website Accessibility for the Disabled

Achieving website accessibility for the disabled is a moral imperative and the Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act requires U.S. government websites to be accessible, so it is not something to be taken lightly. It is only fair that those who have vision or audio impairments, motor difficulties, experience cognitive or intellectual disabilities, etc. be able to access the same information found on a website as others. And as it turns out, making a website accessible to the disabled also tends to make it more mobile-friendly, so it is a win-win situation for developers who undertake the task of making their websites accessible.

In this blog, I will briefly outline the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0) and refer you to resources that can help you achieve accessibility. WCAG 2.0 was published as a W3C Recommendation on December 11, 2008. There are 12 guidelines organized under four principles. The guidelines presented here are worded exactly as you will find them at www.w3.org/TR/WCAG20/ to avoid any confusion or misinterpretation.

Perceivable
  • Guideline 1.1 - Text Alternatives: Provide text alternatives for any non-text content so that it can be changed into other forms people need, such as large print, braille, speech, symbols or simpler language.
  • Guideline 1.2 - Time-based media: Provide alternatives for time-based media.
  • Guideline 1.3 – Adaptable: Create content that can be presented in different ways (for example simpler layout) without losing information or structure.
  • Guideline 1.4 – Distinguishable: Make it easier for users to see and hear content including separating foreground from background.
Operable
  • Guideline 2.1 – Keyboard Accessible: Make all functionality available from a keyboard.
  • Guideline 2.2 – Enough time: Provide users enough time to read and use content.
  • Guideline 2.3 – Seizures: Do not design content in a way that is known to cause seizures.
  • Guideline 2.4 – Navigable: Provide ways to help users navigate, find content, and determine where they are.
Understandable
  • Guideline 3.1 – Readable: Make text content readable and understandable.
  • Guideline 3.2 – Predictable: Make web pages appear and operate in predictable ways.
  • Guideline 3.3 – Input Assistance: Help users avoid and correct mistakes.
Robust
  • Guideline 4.1 – Compatible: Maximize compatibility with current and future user agents, including assistive technologies.
Information on the details of each of these guidelines and the specific steps you can take to meet and understand them can be found at: www.w3.org/TR/WCAG20/.

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