What does an Accessible Website actually mean?
How do you define what an accessible website is?
When you read about an accessible website, what does that mean to you? For us, having worked in website accessibility since 2006, it means being accessible for disabled people. This usually means that disabled people use extra software or hardware to help them in browsing websites. This is known as assistive technology. An accessible website is one that has been coded to work correctly with assistive technology.
Examples of different disabilities
For example, someone who is blind would not be able to use a mouse, so they would use a keyboard instead, in combination with what is called a screen reader. A screen reader is usually a piece of software that is installed on a computer that “reads out” what is on a web page so that a blind person is able to make sense of it. Having a visual disability is often what most people would think of if they were thinking about what disabilities could make it difficult to use a website.
However, there are many other disabilities that can affect how well someone can navigate a website. Someone else may be able to see a screen perfectly well but be unable to use either a mouse or a keyboard. They would then use software that enables them to dictate instead, such as Dragon Dictation, or they may use the dictation facilities that come with their computer or device.
You may have people who are neurodivergent. They may be able to see a computer screen perfectly well and use both a keyboard and a mouse but they may be badly affected by white backgrounds or moving images, which give them headaches.
Everyone is accommodated by applying one simple principle!
In all 3 cases, if a website has been built with accessibility in mind, having any of these disabilities would not prevent them from fully engaging with the website, as long as the website itself was built correctly. This is really what the definition of an accessible website is: one that has been built correctly because that is all you need to do, to ensure a website is accessible!
Would you like to find out more?
If you would like to find out more about website accessibility, please follow these links:
Access by Audit
Always delivering an outstanding website accessibility audit.