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What is Accessibility?

The term accessibility refers to something, which can be accessible, entered, or attained with fewer or no obstacles. Accessibility features on computers make it capable for people with disabilities to use a computer system with the help of using assistive technologies.

Computer software, websites, and other technologies may be created by developers that can be more accessible to benefit all users. For instance, when choosing a font size, a developer may select a font size that allows all users to read the text easily as there can be such users that have weak eyesight; therefore, the developer may think about these kinds of people.

What is Accessibility

Examples of accessibility issues

Below, a list is given that provides an example of common limitations that may make something inaccessible.

  • Visual: A person who has color blindness, has poor vision, or is blind is an example. When you are seeing something on the smaller screen, visual accessibility can also occur at that time. For case, a website that is not designed for smaller screens, but you are viewing it on a smartphone.
  • Auditory: A person who lives in a setting where audible signals are not available, who is deaf, or hard of hearing. For example, anyone who has their sound muted may not have the potential to hear a notification sound.
  • Mobility: A user may face difficulties while using a computer mouse, keyboard, touch screen, or other devices if he/she has motor or mobility issues. For instance, if the proper hyperlink is too close to another link, a person who trembles may have difficulties clicking it.
  • Learning: The way of learning for everyone is different; not everyone learns in the same manner. And, a lot of people have learning problems like ADHD or dyslexia that make it difficult for them to comprehend what they are reading.
  • Seizures: Seizures can be triggered by flashing colors as well as animation, especially in people who have photosensitive epilepsy. Seizures can be reduced with the help of restricting or eliminating flashing colors.

Examples of accessibility features

  • On-screen keyboard
  • Sticky Keys
  • Text-to-speech
  • Gesture recognition
  • Hands-free
  • Narrator
  • Toggle Keys
  • Cursor trails
  • Filter Keys
  • Touch screen
  • Voice recognition
  • High contrast
  • Mouse Keys

Accessibility vs. usability

"Accessibility" and "usability" are two different techniques to evaluate software and technology design, despite their similarities. When it comes to accessibility, the emphasis is on making everything accessible to disabled users. On the other hand, usability examines how successful a design is and whether or not a user would understand it. For instance, a new menu for a website is created by a designer. The usability expert applies their experience in order to guarantee that the menu is compatible with various devices and conducts user testing to ensure that a new user understands the menu. The accessibility expert would ensure that the menu is accessible to all impaired people and that it is compatible with assistive technology such as a screen reader.

Despite their differences, both usability and accessibility contribute to a software or technology product's overall user experience (UX), and both are significant design concerns.

Internet and web accessibility

Web accessibility, also known as eAccessibility, is the process of ensuring that a website and its services are accessible to all users, regardless of device.

Benefits of building accessible sites

  • When a website is created with the help of using semantic HTML that improves accessibility, it also boosts SEO, making your site easier to find on the web.
  • Being concerned about accessibility indicates high ethics as well as morals, which helps to boost your public image.
  • Other smart practices help to improve accessibility and also help to make your website useful for users such as mobile phone users or those with slow internet connections. In reality, many of these enhancements can benefit everyone.
  • Did we mention that in certain countries, it is also the law?

Implementing accessibility into your project

A widespread misconception about accessibility is that it is an expensive "add-on" to a project. This myth may be true if one of the following conditions exists:

  • You are attempting to "retrofit" accessibility onto a website that already has serious accessibility concerns.
  • In the late stages of a project, you only began to think about accessibility as well as discovered relevant concerns.

However, the expense of making most information accessible should be rather low if you think about accessibility from the beginning of a project.

Consider accessibility testing into your testing regime when you are planning for your project, just as you would any other key target audience segment; for example, target mobile or desktop browsers. Early and often testing is recommended, with automated tests in terms of detecting programmatically detectable missing features like missing image alternative text or bad link text. And some testing with disabled user groups in order to determine how well more complex site features work for them. Consider the following scenario:

  • Is it possible for those who use screen readers to use my date picker widget?
  • Do visually impaired persons notice when content changes dynamically?
  • Is it possible to use the keyboard and touch interfaces to access my UI buttons?

You can and should make a list of potential issues areas in your material that need to be addressed in order to make it more accessible, test it extensively, and think about solutions/alternatives. Text content is simple (as you'll discover in the following post), but what about slick 3D graphics and multimedia? Take a look at your project budget and consider what options you have for making such information accessible. One solution, albeit expensive, is to have all of your multimedia assets transcribed.

Also, keep your expectations in check. "100% accessibility" is an unattainable goal - you will always run across an edge case when a user finds a particular piece of information difficult to use - but you should do everything you can. You might want to provide a data table as an accessible alternate representation of the data if you plan to include a whizzy 3D pie chart image built with WebGL. Alternatively, you could just include the table and leave the 3D pie chart out - the table is more accessible to everyone, is quicker to code, uses less CPU, and is easier to maintain.

However, considering that it is a totally visual medium, it would be absurd to expect every piece of art to be perfectly accessible to visually impaired persons if you are working on a gallery website exhibiting interesting 3D art.

In order to demonstrate that you care about accessibility and have given it thought, provide an accessibility statement on your website that explains your accessibility policy and the efforts you have made to make the site accessible.

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