Web accessibility refers to the inclusive practice of removing barriers that prevent interaction with, or access to websites, by people with disabilities. When sites are correctly designed, developed and edited, all users have equal access to information and functionality.
Web Accessibility – Wikipedia
The best reason for building an accessible website is that it is “the absolute right thing to do!” Not only that, but it also comes stocked with other important advantages, among them legal protection, cost savings and marketing potential.
The United States has accessibility laws governing websites funded by the federal government, non-profits, and other public access business sites, while many other counties have established web accessibility laws for a much broader scope.
When you develop a website, consider website accessibility as part of the initial development. The cost of styling is nominal at the beginning of a project, but the the price of going through the entire site to identify and fix the past problems can be very costly.
There are a variety of web accessibility online tools for evaluating and testing your site for compliance. WAVE is one of the more popular ones.
To validate a website for accessibility, copy and paste the URL of the site into the WAVE URL box and press enter to test for:
- Missing Alt Text
- Missing descriptive attributes for web elements
- Missing captions for videos
- Lack of proper tagging for data tables
The WAVE program detected abundant errors and alerts in the summary sidebar circled in the screenshot above.
This is just one of the examples of why it is best practice to validate for web accessibility as you are developing and evaluating a new site.
Web Accessibility Online Tools and Resources
- Web Accessibility Evaluation Tools List – w3.org
- Top Five Free Web Page Accessibility Validators – HTML Goodies
- 10 Free Web-Based Web Site Accessibility Evaluation Tools – usability geek