What is accessibility and why is it important? | Accessibility
As a private institution, we must meet federal accessibility guidelines in order to ensure that our content is accessible to all (Section 504 Title III of Americans with Disabilities Act). To meet these guidelines, it’s important to understand what it means to be accessible.
What is accessibility?
For something to be accessible, it must be capable of being reached, used, or seen by everyone.
To take it another step further, web accessibility refers to “websites, tools, and technologies [that] are designed and developed so that people with disabilities can use them. More specifically, people can:
- perceive, understand, navigate, and interact with the Web
- contribute to the Web” – W3C Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI)
What makes a website accessible?
It is easy to navigate without a mouse.
- Navigation menus and form fields are tab-able.
It is easy to read.
- To make links easy to read, they should be identifiable in two ways: color and underline. At Chapman, we distinguish links by using the color red and a dotted underline. Additionally, link text should make sense out of context.
- Another factor that can make content easy to read is to use the correct heading structure. This can be accomplished by using H1-H6 tags.
- Fonts should always have good contrast with the background.
It has alternative ways to get information.
- Images should have descriptive/alternative text.
- Videos should have closed captioning as well as transcripts.
- Audio files should have a text transcript that complements it.
Why is it important?
Good accessibility can benefit people in the physical world and digital world.
An audible crosswalk is an example of an innovation that benefits a broad audience. They can benefit the blind, small children, seniors with low vision, or non-English speakers. This diverse group of people using a single accessible tool illustrates the power accessibility can have in improving one’s quality of life.
In our society today, we rely on the Internet to give us access to information, services, and people that are only available online. Because of its importance in our everyday life, the information being shared should be available to all, regardless of one’s abilities.
It is important to consider the needs of a diverse human population rather than accommodating to the needs of people with disabilities because everyone can benefit from accessible web content. Adhering to accessibility standards can…
- Increase overall usability
- Build better brand loyalty
- Serve a wider, more diverse audience of prospective students, job seekers, etc.