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Website Accessibility – The Importance and Standards

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Website Accessibility – The Importance and Standards

 

When website accessibility is neglected or isn’t to the standard it should be, you're not only isolating individuals with disabilities but you are also limiting the reach of your business. Browsing your favourite websites or watching and listening to videos online is a luxury that most of us take for granted, people living with disabilities could be left isolated and get lost in your website if it doesn't provide a certain standard of accessibility, which is something we at Thomas Design take very seriously.

What is Website Accessibility?

Website accessibility refers to the way in which your website can be accessed, for example, your website may be perfectly accessible for an able bodied person with no disabilities to use and navigate through, but if somebody with a disability or visual impairment was to try to access your site, would they be able to?

What is Included in Accessibility?

Website accessibility is governed by the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 and have a specific list of criteria to follow for each of their individual ratings, the ratings given are as follows;

A - The "acceptable" level of accessibility, A grade accessibility is the minimum level of accessibility, stated by the WCAG.

AA - A good level of accessibility, this is what most websites should strive to achieve in regards to accessibility, to achieve AA you must meet both the minimum criteria required and the specific criteria for AA.

AAA - Websites with AAA accessibility will have to have met the criteria for A and AA whilst also meeting the slightly more strict and technical criteria of AAA, the hardest to achieve.

Here is just some of the criteria for the A and AA ratings of accessibility:

  • Use of Colour – Colour is not the only visual means of conveying information, indicating an action or prompting a response.
  • Audio Control – If any audio plays on the website automatically for longer than three seconds, either a mechanism is available to pause the audio or a mechanism is available to alter the sound independently from the system volume.
  • Contrast – The visual presentation of text and images of text has a contrast ratio of at least 4:5:1, except for the following; Large Text, Incidental andLogotypes
  • Keyboard – Ability to navigate through the content using a keyboard interface without requiring specific timings for individual keystrokes, except where the underlying function requires input that depends on the path of the user's movement and not just the endpoints.

The full list of WCAG 2.0 criteria or guidelines can be found here and as you can see, the majority of the guidelines are somewhat complex but the minimum rating level (A) acceptable by the WCAG is a necessity for any business.

If you are looking for a high quality web design service with website accessibility to a high standard, contact us today!

Date: 28.05.15

Our Clients

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