Web Accessibility (WAI)

Let us begin with understanding what "Web Accessibility” really is. Well, it simply means making a website more convenient to use for people with different types of disabilities and impairments. It is principally intended to assist people with disabilities in perceiving, navigating and interacting with the web. The best thing is that not only people with disabilities get benefits out of a website being more accessible, but it contributes significantly to boost overall web interaction, also adding SEO worth to the website itself.

Major Types Of Disabilities & Impairments

Currently, millions of users all across the world are suffering from one type of disability/impairment or the other, getting hindered in their web interaction. According to some estimates, United Kingdom has about 3.5 million disabled people using internet, while the U.S.A has approximately 10% of the population whose disabilities can hinder their web accessibility. Experts categorize impairments that can affect one’s web experience into 4 main categories:

  • Vision - absolute loss of vision, color blindness and diminished vision
  • Hearing - complete or partial hearing loss, inability to hear audiable alerts/notifications.
  • Mobility – physical inability or difficulty using limbs, hand or arms, impaired motor skills, etc
  • Cognitive – disabilities in learning and mental activities, short term memory loss and attention deficit issues

 

Why Go For Accessible Websites?

Legal requirements for accessibility

It is worth praise seeing an increasing number of countries around the world focusing more on legislations that specifically address the web accessibility concerns of disabled and impaired people. So, it is becoming more of a legal compulsion nowadays to go for adequately accessible websites for all types of users; for example, the Equality law 2010 UK (replaced the Disability Discrimination Act DDA) that explicitly prohibits any type of discrimination in providing any service to a disabled person, which are being provided to other persons.

The W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) is putting great efforts by collaborating with disability organizations, industry, governments, and research concerns from around the world to help improve the web interaction for disabled and impaired people. This results in emergence of enhanced coding practices and web development norms.

Ethical

Convenient access to information is considered as one of the basic rights that everyone needs to have irrespective of any limitations or barriers, because free and fair access to information enables all of us to lead informed and independent lives.

Business

Statistics suggest that online businesses are on a constant losing streak, which equals to approximately £80 - 100 billion per year, just due to accessibility issues in their web presence. Improving on web accessibility aspects can help online businesses capitalize on such great opportunities.

Some Other Benefits

  • A significant percentage of users (about 35%) go for web accessibility options due to ease, convenience and comfort, despite having no physical disability or impairment
  • Will result in expanding user base up to a total of about 10%
  • Adds about 35% of ease of use to one’s web experience
  • Improved and flexible coding or programming techniques help web pages seek added SEO benefits as well, resulting in a boost to their web ranks
  • Helps make online experience cross browser / platform free in many ways
  • Also depicts social responsibility aspects of an organization, adding positively to its repute

Conclusion

To surmise, there are just immense benefits of adhering to improved web accessibility, also making businesses future ready along the way, so you should give it a serious consideration.

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