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Website Accessibility

Make your Website Accessible

Due to the integration of the internet into our daily lives, it has become extremely important that websites are as accessible as possible to our fellow citizens who may suffer from a disability. Most of the existing websites and also the majority of new ones are built without website accessibility in mind. In fact, only 2% of the 350 million active websites have some kind of accessibility compliance. This wide disproportion is known as the “web accessibility gap”.Most people underestimate the number of online users whose disabilities affects their ability to access a website in a satisfactory manner. In the United States alone there are more than thirty seven million people who are either visually impaired, hearing impaired, subject to seizures or epilepsy, or who are mobility impaired.

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Accessibility Principles

There are four main guiding principles of accessibility. These four principles are known by the acronym POUR for perceivable, operable, understandable and robust. POUR is a way of approaching web accessibility by breaking it down into these four main aspects. Many of the technology challenges faced by disabled people/people with disabilities can be described using one of the POUR principles.

Each of these items by themselves may not provide a complete picture and flag all accessibility issues but taken in concert should give you a good picture of the accessibility status of your website.

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How to Make Your Website Accessible?

Methods to make a website accessible vary depending on whether you are building a new site from scratch or working with an existing site. Also, the size of the organization will dictate the resources that can be devoted to accessibility. Many large companies have full time teams whose sole responsibilities are to test and remediate their corporate websites.For purposes of this article, we are going to assume that the website is for a small to mid-sized organization who may have a budget to make the site accessible, but not the full-time staff available to a larger company. The website may be under development or there may be an existing site.

It is important to understand that accessibility is not binary, as it comes in degrees of success. As new content or functionalities are added to a website, they must be made accessible. Every time an accessibility enhancement is added, it moves the site a rung higher on the accessibility ladder and provides immense benefit to users who may be dealing with a disability.

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