What is an accessible website?

What is an accessible website?

An accessible website is a site that disabled people can navigate using assistive technology. Blind individuals use screen readers to navigate through the web. You can download NVDA a free sreen reader and feel what it is like to navigate the web based on sound and the tab keys.  The deaf need transcripts for all video on a website – otherwise they miss the audio messages you are promoting on your site. There are other disabilities that are addressed as well when you make your website accessible.

For more details about what an accessible website is visit W3C The World Wide Web Consortium that works on developing web standards.

Why should you make your website accessible?

There are many reasons to make a website accessible.  Before you read on, take a moment to think about why it’s a good idea.

  • You have a website so that you will get traffic, visitors.  You want people to feel welcome on your site. In most cases your website is either an online store, a place to gain information or a community center. Chances are you want your website to be open to everyone. Close your eyes and think of a ramp leading into a building. By making your website accessible you are building a ramp that will allow visitors into your site.
  • Many countries across the globe have adopted the recommendations of the W3C and created laws requiring websites to be accessible.  WebAIM an organization dedicated to accessibility gives an overview of the World laws listing accessibility requirements for specific countries.
  • Being accessible is good for SEO.  Google likes accessible sites – since those sites have a simple, logical navigation structure that is easy for Google spiders to crawl. See item three in Web.com’s article “Getting Listed in Google (Information pulled directly from the Google.com website)”