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Web Accesibility


Web Accesibility

It refers to the ability to Access a website and its contents by as many people as possible, independently from any disability (physical, intellectual or technical) they may present or which may arise from the context of use (technological or environmental). This quality is closely related to usability

When websites are designed thinking of accessibility, any user can access every content on a basis of equality. For instance, when a website has been written in semantically correct XHTML code, it generates an equivalent text alternative to images and links are given a new significant name, thus, helping blind individuals and allowing them to use screen readers or Braille output devices to access contents.  When the videos have subtitles, the users with auditory disabilities will understand them perfectly. Pages coded in a simple language and containing diagrams will help dyslexic users and those having learning problems.

When the size of the text is big enough, users with visual problems are capable to read it easily. Similarly, an adequate size of the buttons or active areas will make easier its use to those users that cannot the mouse precisely. If actions that depend on a concrete device are avoided (press a key, click with the mouse), the user will be free to choose the device that better suits him.

Restrictions

Some of the website’s restrictions users can face are:

  • Visual: Different levels, from low vision to total blindness, as well as problems distinguishing colours (colour blindness).
  • Motor skills: Difficulty or impossibility to use hands, including shaking, slowness of movement, etc. due to diseases such as Parkinson, muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, amputations…
  • Hearing: deaf or hard of hearing
  • Cognitive: Learning Disorders (dyslexia, dyscalculia, etc.) or cognitive disabilities concerning memory, attention, logical skills, etc.

 Web accessibility guidelines

The World Wide Consultorium (W3C) is the highest organism within Internet hierarchy that is in charge of promoting accessibility, concretely its Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) team. WAI’s accessibility guidelines (1.0) were first published in 1999. They have become an internationally accepted reference. WCAG 2.0 were approved in December 2008 as official recommendation.

These guidelines are classified into three categories:

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)

WCAG is primarily for webmasters and describe how to make website’s content accessible.

Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines (ATAG)

ATAG is primarily for software developers using webmasters as these programmes will facilitate accessible websites creation.

User Agent Accessibility Guidelines (UAAG)

UAAG is primarily for developers of Web browsers, media players, assistive technologies, and other user agents to increase people’s accessibility to Web content.

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