What is Accessibility?
The Web is fundamentally designed to work for all people, whatever their hardware, software, language, culture, location, or physical or mental ability. When the Web meets this goal, it is accessible to people with a diverse range of hearing, movement, sight, and cognitive ability.
When websites or web tools are designed badly, they can create barriers that exclude people from using the Web.
Why is Accessibility Important?
It is essential that the Web be accessible in order to provide equal access and equal opportunity to people with diverse abilities. The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities recognizes access to information and communications technologies, including the Web, as a basic human right.
Accessibility not only supports social inclusion for people with disabilities, but also for older people, people who live in rural areas and people in developing countries.
There is also a strong business case for accessibility. Accessibility overlaps with other best practices such as mobile web design, device independence, multi-modal interaction, usability, design for older users, and search engine optimization (SEO). Case studies show that accessible websites have better search results, reduced maintenance costs, and increased audience reach, among other benefits.
How to Make Your Website and Web Tools Accessible
When making your website or web tools accesible, it is important to understand how people with diverse abilities use the web (opens in a new window). A knowledge of the best accessibility practices is also required. Please see our tips and guides to accessible content.