Web Accessibility - Everyone's Responsibility
The World Wide Web is a dynamic educational, entertainment and information center. It provides convenient and easy to use access to services, products, and information. It has become part of the fabric of society and offers to us the greatest commodity - information. That is unless you have a disability. Then it becomes unfriendly, unruly, hard to navigate and difficult to understand.
Companies need to design their web sites to be accessible to people with different kinds of disabilities: visual, hearing, physical, neurological and cognitive disabilities. Individuals with vision impairments who need to rely on assistive technology tools to access the web, like screen readers and Braille displays, have difficulty navigating improperly designed web pages. Graphics without alt tags, server side image maps and improper use of frames often render these assistive devices useless. Other individuals may have a physical impairment that makes it impossible for them to use a mouse or a keyboard.
At the sixth International World Wide Web Conference in 1997 Tim Berners-Lee, director of the W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) stated " Worldwide, there are more than 750 million people with disabilities. As we move towards a highly connected world, it is critical that the Web be usable by anyone, regardless of individual capabilities and disabilities. The W3C is committed to removing accessibility barriers for all people with disabilities—including the deaf, blind, physically challenged, and cognitive or visually impaired. We plan to work aggressively with government, industry, and community leaders to establish and attain web accessibility goals." That was the launch of the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI).
The Web Accessibility Initiative developed guidelines to build accessibility into a web sites design. The guidelines were used by the Federal Government’s Access Board in developing the standards for Web based intranet and internet information and applications as part of the Section 508 law.
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Last modified: June 11, 2012