What is web accessibility?
Web accessibility means that people with disabilities can use the web. More specifically, web accessibility means that people with disabilities can perceive, understand, navigate, and interact with the web, can contribute to the web. Web accessibility also benefits others, including older people with changing abilities due to ageing.
Web accessibility encompasses all disabilities that affect access to the web, including visual, auditory, physical, speech, cognitive, and neurological disabilities.
Millions of people have disabilities that affect their use of the web. Currently most web sites and web software have accessibility barriers that make it difficult or impossible for many people with disabilities to use the web. As more accessible websites and software become available, people with disabilities are able to use and contribute to the web more effectively.
Web accessibility also benefits people without disabilities. For example, a key principle of web accessibility is designing web sites and software that are flexible to meet different user needs, preferences, and situations. This flexibility also benefits people without disabilities in certain situations, such as people using a slow Internet connection, people with “temporary disabilities” such as a broken arm, and people with changing abilities due to ageing.
Why web accessibility is important
The web is an increasingly important resource in many aspects of life: education, employment, government, commerce, health care, recreation, and more. It is essential that the web be accessible in order to provide equal access and equal opportunity to people with disabilities. An accessible web can also help people with disabilities more actively participate in society.
The web offers the possibility of unprecedented access to information and interaction for many people with disabilities. That is, the accessibility barriers to print, audio, and visual media can be much more easily overcome through web technologies.
At Groop, our accessibility policy takes into account these factors wherever possible to give the user the best experience possible. We ensure best practice is used when creating the Groop website which means we are web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) Double-A compliant. This enables computer users to make the most of the internet, whatever their ability or disability.
For accessibility assistance we recommend the BBC website ‘My Web My Way’ at http://www.bbc.co.uk/accessibility/.
AbilityNet provides a range of free services to help disabled people get the most from computers and the internet.