.NET CMS > .NET CMS online support forum > Webmaster Forum > Web technologies


Date & Time
Message Operations
Andrea Bruno

Web accessibility - What does it all mean?

Misconception: Web accessibility is about disability.
No, Web accessibility is about universality.

It's about making something that can be used by as many people as possible: different environments, different devices, elderly, different cultural backgrounds, non-English speakers, impaired abilities.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics in 2009, 18.5% of Australians had a reported disability, 8% of males had problems seeing colour, 15% of Australians were from a non-English speaking background and over 46% of Australian adults had low literacy skills.

We need to make our websites easy to use for everyone. The hearing impaired, those with limited mobility, those with reading difficulties and anyone using handheld devices.

Why? By making your content more accessible more people in more locations can read your information and they will understand it more easily. After all, you want everyone to get your message, right?

Accessibility is also a legal requirement.

Misconception: Web accessibility is not my problem.
No, Web accessibility is everyone's responsibility.

We're all in this together. What you do makes a difference. So what do people need?

People need content that is easy to read, works on different devices, is easy to navigate, has good design and colour contrast, images and graphs that are described well, has video captions or transcriptions and has documents and attachments in a format that can be used by everyone everywhere.

So how do you do it?

Think about your audience: Who are you writing for? Who is actually going to read it? What do they need to know?

Structure your content: Is your content in Microsoft Word? Have you used the templates and styles provided? Are your heading styles in the correct order?

Check your language level: Is it short and simple? Is there a plain language summary for any policy or legislation?

Think about alternative options: Are there text descriptions for your images? Do you have data tables for your graphs? Have you provided transcripts for your videos?

Do a quick check: Use the Word Accessibility Checker and correct things as you go.

Remember what you do at the start makes it easier at the end and your content gets published faster. Follow our guides and make it a habit. It's all about your audience and meeting their needs.

Misconception: Web accessibility is hard.
No, Web accessibility is easy.

To learn more about accessibility, visit STAFFnet.

Statistics sourced from The Australian Bureau of Statistics -- Disability Australia, 2009. 2006 Census of Population and Housing. Adult Literacy and Life Skills Survey Summary Results, Australia, 2006

Visual licenced under Creative Commons (CC-BY-SA-NC), audio track licensed to premiumbeat.com