Inclusion group of people

What is digital accessibility?

Learn what's digital accessibility and how that impacts site usage.

Digital accessibility refers to providing an equivalent user experience for people with disabilities, including auditory, cognitive, neurological, physical, speech, and visual disabilities. That means also providing web-based information, digital content, applications, and resources that are available and used by everyone.

Making a website accessible can be simple or complex, depending on many factors such as the type of content, the size, technology, complexity of the site, the development tools, and the environment.

Many accessibility features are easily implemented if they are planned and developed from the beginning of development or redesign. Fixing inaccessible sites may require significant effort, especially sites that were not originally coded properly with standard HTML markup, and sites with certain types of content such as multimedia.

How do we understand and implement accessibility?

We know now what’s digital accessibility, but we don’t know how to implement it. Web Accessibility Initiative to the rescue. One of the roles of the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) is to develop guidelines and techniques that describe accessibility solutions for web software and developers. These WAI guidelines are considered the international standard for Web accessibility.

What is Web Accessibility Initiative?

The Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) guidelines are widely regarded as the international standard for web accessibility. WAI provides resources on its website and works by developing support materials to help understand and implement web accessibility and developing resources, through international collaboration.

Part of the Web Accessibility Initiative is Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) that are part of a series of web accessibility guidelines.

In 2008, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) published the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG; pronounced: way-cagg or wuh-cog) to specify how web developers should make content accessible for people with disabilities. The WCAG 2.0 and higher have Success Criteria split between three Levels of Conformance (low to high): A, AA, and AAA, with AAA being the level that makes your content the most accessible.

The latest version of WCAG is 3.0 and it’s marked as Working Draft of WCAG 3.0.

Minimum requirements

The general recommendation is to comply with WCAG 2.1. Level AA standard for accessibility to ensure that content and functionality are Perceivable, Operable, Understandable, and Robust for those affected by:

  • Visual impairment and blindness.
  • Hearing impairment and deafness.
  • Physical disabilities such as congenital conditions, long-term injuries caused by accidents Neurological conditions, and brain injuries.
  • Speech and language disabilities.
  • Learning disabilities or differences.

Additionally, persons without disabilities will gain from it:

  • People using smart watches, smart TVs, mobile phones, and other devices with small screens, different input modes, etc. Older people with changing abilities due to aging.
  • Those who have temporary disabilities, like a broken arm or lost glasses.
  • People who have situational limitations, such as those who cannot hear sounds in environments, with bright sunlight or high sunlight, those with a slow Internet connection, or with expensive or limited bandwidth.

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