Barriers also exist on the Internet and come down to millions of people around the world, as 71% of people with disabilities do not have access to the Web. Currently, citizens with motor, sensory or cognitive difficulties depend more than ever on advances in the accessibility of cyberspace so as not to be left out of educational, economic, and social development.
Web accessibility aims to make the different sites usable by the maximum number of people. Programming, design, and technology have to be combined to build an Internet without barriers that allow all users to fully interact with it.
A global commitment to an Accessible Web
In 1999, the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) was formed as part of the World Wide Web Consortium’s commitment to bring the Web to its fullest potential. The WAI is responsible for issuing standardized and internationally recognized guidelines to create more accessible content and pages. These technical recommendations, aimed at webmasters, designers, and developers, are updated periodically and are grouped into the three blocks that we summarize below:
- Accessibility of web content: Guidelines for creating content that is accessible and compatible with all kinds of support technologies, devices, browsers, and programming languages. They contemplate using large fonts, adaptive designs, predictive texts, navigation assistants, etc.
- Accessibility of authoring tools: Guidelines for developing programs and applications used to create, manage and publish digital content. These tools include word processors, database managers, video editing programs, etc.
- Accessibility of user agents: Guidelines for developing programs needed to interact with web content. Such as browsers, media players, screen readers, etc.
Tips to make your website more accessible:
If you manage a website, you can take certain actions to ensure that people with disabilities can navigate your page. These changes can also be positive for your site as traffic and visits would increase:
- It is advisable to describe the images clearly and concisely using alternative text and include subtitles, voiceovers, a box with a sign language interpreter, and audio descriptions in videos.
- By using clear fonts (Arial, Verdana, and Calibri, among others) with large sizes and contrasting colors, they improve reading. Short phrases and high-frequency words make it easy to understand. Separating the text into paragraphs and using line spacing of 1.5 optimizes is also recommended.
- A web structure (code) ordered at different levels and themes makes it easier for Screen Readers to navigate the content without generating confusing interpretations. The use of HTML tags favors the order and structure of your accessible website.
- Testing your website with Screen Readers allows you to know if the information is accessible to users with visual disabilities. All operating systems have a key shortcut to activate the screen reader.
Learn more about the organizations that make up the Internet and their mission here.