Conlin Web Design and Services
Conlin Web Design and Services

Accessibility & Section 508

Making websites fully accessible to all users

Developing a website that allows all users to access to the information on your site makes good business sense. Accessible web sites are standards-compliant and more likely to be supported by new devices and future web browsers. In some cases, web accessibility is required by law. Together, we will review the accessibility of your website and determine additional features necessary for Section 508 compliance. We’ll also outline the value accessibility adds for your customers. My training at the American Printing House for the Blind and in educational testing, where accessibility is critical, have given me a solid footing in the accessibility arena. Web accessibility refers to all disabilities that affect a person’s ability to access content on the web:

  • visual impairments: blindness, low vision, and color blindness
  • auditory impairments
  • physical and motor limitations
  • speech disabilities
  • cognitive and neurological disabilities

Web accessibility is equal opportunity

Web accessibility is essential to providing equal access to your website content. Although visitors who rely on accessibility may only comprise a small subset of your audience, by evaluating your website for accessibility you are not excluding those users. The Accessible Icon Project

An accessible web benefits everyone

Web accessibility also benefits people without disabilities. The flexibility offered by accessible web design allows greater access to content by users with mobile devices, limited Internet connectivity, and browsers with scripts and styles disabled.

The Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI)

For more details on disabilities and the web, please visit the Web Accessibility Initiative.

Assistive technology and adaptive strategies

There are many devices and strategies employed to facilitate web and computer access:

  • screen reader software
  • refreshable Braille displays
  • screen magnification devices
  • voice recognition software
  • speech synthesis
  • scanning software
  • alternative pointers and switches
  • modified keyboards and track balls
  • access keys
  • tabbing through structural elements

Improving accessibility

There are many ways to make web sites more accessible:

  • define text sizes as relative vs. absolute units
  • enable non-mouse interaction methods
  • use colors wisely
  • include alternate text for every graphic element
  • provide alternative formats of multimedia content
  • separate content from presentation
  • allow users to override site styles
  • develop a well organized site structure

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