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The Human Side of Accessibility


Misti Kenison

By Misti Kenison


Often when we discuss website accessibility, it is within a technical or even legal explanation of the necessity of making a site compliant. For many financial institutions, the legal argument becomes the motivating factor. It was reported that “…in 2017 alone, at least 814 federal lawsuits…were filed against companies operating allegedly inaccessible websites.”1

Does it benefit you legally and financially to make your website ADA compliant? Absolutely. But I’d like to argue that there is another side to accessibility that is far more important. The CDC estimates that “more than 3.4 million (3%) Americans aged 40 years and older are either legally blind … or are visually impaired.”Millions more suffer from varying degrees of visual impairment, either from age, disease, or simple color-blindness.3  Others have physical or neurological disabilities that prevent them from easily navigating and interacting online.4

That is what makes website accessibility more than just a technicality. It is a compassionate outreach to those in your community who are disabled or elderly. It is one small thing that can make their lives easier.

Accessibility is more than just adding alt-tags to images

It’s making sure that text on a mobile device is large enough to read. Creating enough contrast between colors so that text or buttons don’t disappear when viewed by a color-blind user.  Ensuring that forms can easily be filled out and understood.

For users who are physically unable to control a mouse, websites must be navigated with only a keyboard. You can test this out with your own site: try moving around by only hitting the “tab” key. Were you forced to scroll through each menu item? Did you get stuck anywhere on the page? A properly configured site will take this into consideration, and be coded appropriately.

Visual impairment and accessibility

How would an older or visually impaired person view your website? Chrome offers a great plugin that mimics problems such as glaucoma, color-blindness, macular degeneration, and other vision issues.  This may allow you to spot areas of your site that could cause problems for these disabled users.

Creating or modifying a website to become more accessible is an extensive process, one that you may not have the resources for internally. If you need assistance, we have a team of programmers at InetSolution who are always available.

 
1 https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/ada-website-accessibility-lawsuits-on-16925/
2 https://www.cdc.gov/visionhealth/basic_information/vision_loss_burden.htm
3 http://www.colourblindawareness.org/colour-blindness/
4 https://www.w3.org/WAI/fundamentals/accessibility-intro/
 

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