Posted: June 22, 2016
May 19 was Global Accessibility Awareness Day. This yearly event is about making the web accessible for everyone. I attended a meetup of local web developers to discuss accessibility problems and solutions.
The main speaker was Al Puzzuoli, informational technologist with Michigan State University’s Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities. Al’s talk focused on the role of screen readers for people with vision disabilities.
For websites accessibility means designing for the widest variety of people possible. This includes making sites that can be used by people with impaired vision, deafness, or mechanical disabilities.
To put this into business terms: making your products available to as many different types of people as possible.
The simplest answer is “because it’s the right thing to do” but there are also great business reasons for accessibility.
Something like this is easy to program but it makes a statement on their accessibility policy. Al was impressed by the commitment to accessibility that Scottrade showed here.
A great example of this is a clock. Would you want a voice telling you every time that the time changes? Of course not! Just because something is considered data doesn’t always mean it should be included for all users.
The gold standard for accessibility testing is to have multiple disabled users try your site, but that’s not always feasible. A simpler option is to try using your site with a screen reader yourself.
While making a site accessible can seem daunting at first, the good news is that it doesn’t have to be. With a little planning any website can be more accessible.
This post was written by R. Mey, Web Developer at PUSH 22.