What is web accessibility?
Internet has supposed a qualitative and quantitative leap in the dissemination of information. But there are still a lot of people, such as people with disabilities, users of mobile terminals or old people, who have difficulties to access to this.
What pursues the accessibility is to make that any site or Web service can be used by everyone regardless of their personal limitations or derived from the environment from which it connects. This favours equal opportunities among all people, providing them with access to culture and information.
Whi is affected by the lack of accessibility?
Many groups: people with hearing, visual or motor disabilities, the elderly, dyslexia, cognitive disabilities, lack of language comprehension, etc.
Is there any rule that force me to make the web accessible?
Yes, there is: Catalan, Spanish and European rule. Below you can find the references to the essential rules that regulate it:
Are there penalties to companies or administrations that do not have the web accessible?
Yes, there are. By the moment, there have been a few, but more and more users know their rights and inform the relevant entities such as the Ministry of Health or the Accessibility Council of Catalonia, which websites do not comply with the accessibility rules.
If we are not a public administration, and we do not have it as a client, must we make our website accessible?
When we talk about accessibility we do not think only in people with physical problems, we refer to many people: from users who connect through mobile terminals to immigrants who do not dominate the language.
An adapted webpage facilitates that all the people who connect to it are presented with the information in the most optimal format, whether they connect from a small screen, from a computer or even from a text only terminal or a screen reader for blind people.
To sum up, accessibility benefits many people among which are:
- People with any degree of disability, whether physical, sensory or cognitive
- Users who connect from small devices: phones, PDA…
- Inexperienced users in the use of computer equipment or electronic devices
- People with outdated, unsuitable equipment or limited connections
- Elderly people with difficulties stemming from age
- Users who do not dominate the language
- People in a non-suitable environment: noise, bad lighting...
If I am not obliged by law, what gives me improve the accessibility of the website?
Accessibility is not only a set of requirements that improve the access of certain people but to apply accessibility standards involves tracking good developing guidelines and, therefore, creating higher quality websites. For this reason, not only benefit users (clients of the website) but the company itself also obtains benefits in the short and long term:
- Improving search engine indexing: Providing textual alternatives and a structuring and semantics of content enriches the website information and, consequently, search engines can index more easily and accurately the contents. This implies that when doing a search in -for example- Google, an accessible site is higher than a non-accessible site with the same content.
- Improving usability: A usable page may not be accessible. An accessible page is generally usable. This means that, for the users, it is easier to use and, therefore, has a higher percentage of success: If the site provides information, the user will find it more easily. If the site sells books, more people will buy them.
- Increase of target audience: Everyone can connect from any terminal on an accessible site. This makes the number of potential users increase considerably. It will also increase more if we consider that a sector of the population -with access difficulties- has no opportunity to choose and, therefore, can only connect to the accessible places by reducing, therefore, the competition.
- Anticipating the law: Current legislation already obliges certain companies to make their websites accessible. National and European regulations are advancing quickly, and this law will soon be gradually spreading to all companies. When this will happen the cost of website adjustment will increase importantly. The foresight in this matter is key to avoid expenses.
- Simplifying development and maintenance: Applying good practices means that the development processes improve and therefore speed improve. In addition, the correct structuring, the use of standards and the separation between content and presentation greatly simplifies the maintenance, made both by the developers of the page or by other newly incorporated developers.
- Cost reduction: Applicating good practices and simplificating the maintenance involve a reduction of the costs deriving from the creation and updating of the site.
- Brand image: The demand for corporate responsibility is increasingly demanding in our society. Directives regarding ecology or social responsibility are applied by most companies. In this vein, improvement in accessibility implies an improvement in the perception of the company.
Is it expensive to make an accessible website?
If you develop it from the start with the idea of an accessible website the cost will be the same. If you have a website and would like to evaluate its accessibility, we can make a report that will depend on the number of pages of the website.
From this report, your teams, with our help, or if you prefer ourselves, will be able to work in correcting the barriers and the hours that they spend will depend on the result of the audit.
It is recommendable to make a website accessible from the beginning so that there is no extra cost, but if you already have one, it may not be necessary to invest much. It will depend on its state and the shortcomings, or not, of accessibility.
Will the design of a web be boring if accessible? Can you add images and different colours?
Not at all. Accessible sites can contain images, videos, carousels, very varied colours, etc. But always following guidelines of developing and design that allow everyone, despite their visual, motor, etc. capacities can access to it.
It is also necessary to consider the visualization of the webs on small screens such as mobiles and for this reason our designs are adaptive, also called responsive.