Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Web Accessibility Wednesday: Considering Various Disabilities

We will be posting a continuing series of web accessibility tips that IT personnel, web managers and web development groups can use in reviewing current website accessibility and in developing new websites. These tips were developed in partnership between the Association of Tech Act Programs (ATAP) and WebAIM with the hope of improving web accessibility for everyone.

Web accessibility is about reaching the broadest range of users regardless of age or disability. A web site can always be made more accessible, and thus, will always be inaccessible to someone. Guidelines, policies, and laws provide measures of accessibility that can be useful in establishing goals and in evaluating accessibility. Viewing web accessibility as a continuum on which improvement can always be made will help ensure that accessibility is continually improving and that it is about people, not merely compliance with law or guidelines.

Web accessibility affects the following disability categories
Visual disabilities - blindness, low vision, and color-blindness
Auditory disabilities - deafness and hard-of-hearing
Motor disabilities - difficulty using a mouse or keyboard
Cognitive or learning disabilities
Photo-sensitive epilepsy

While care should be taken when grouping anyone into a category, when approaching web accessibility issues, it's often useful to consider the distinct needs of users with each of these types of disabilities.

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