Accessibility & standards

Accessibility for users with disabilities

The objective here is to increase the accessibility of your content delivered over the internet/intranet to all end users, including those with disabilities.

Accordingly one needs to consider not only the look and operation of a web site, but also how easily it can be accessed by people with disabilities.

There are many reasons to make your site more accessible including:

  • Demonstrating good corporate responsibility by not discriminating against people with disabilities
  • Complying with existing legal requirements (such as the US government's Section 508 and the UK's Disability Discrimination Act) and thereby negating the possibility of legal action
  • Specifically targeting the large number of people with disabilities amongst online users
  • Accommodating an ageing online population who as they grow older experience similar issues to those with disabilities

WAI and Section 508

In the case of legal responsibilities, for example:

  • In Europe governments tend to frame their legislation around the Web Accessibility Initiative developed by the W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) which sets technical standards for the web
  • In the USA there is a law known as Section 508 which is accompanied by detailed technical guidelines for accessible web design

Achieving accessibility compliance

Meeting web accessibility guidelines has a significant benefits, as with effective implementation every visitor to your site benefits from the enhanced and structured design, whether they have special requirements for access or not.

Implementation is concerned with a wide range of elements including text, graphics, colour, frames, dynamic elements, multi-media, etc. that affect the experience of the visitor.  Individuals with disabilities access the web in several ways as they may use customized browser settings, such as font size, colour, and screen resolution and may also rely on assistive devices.

Level of compliance

Accessibility can be provided for sites according to the level of compliance required.  For example, in the case of W3C's compliance levels can be supplied to meet:

  • Conformance Level "A"
  • Conformance Level "Double-A"
  • Conformance Level "Triple-A"

…. satisfying the priority checkpoints of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.

I have an existing site – how should this be handled?

Accessibility for your web is of course best incorporated right from the very start.  However where this is not the case and there is an existing site, compliance can often be achieved relatively easily.

Where there is a requirement to upgrade accessibility levels, Konnect Soft:

  • Reviews any existing site or content
  • Checks for accessibility compliance
  • Supplies proposals for improvement
  • Implements improvements according to the level of compliance required