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Is your website design accessible to people with a disability?

People with a vision impairment might be accessing the web using special assistive software, such as screen readers or screen magnification. This software presents the information from the screen, in either a magnified form (often combined with customised combinations of text and background colour, and/or font styles), an audio form via synthesised speech or in a refreshable Braille form.

Websites are part of our everyday life. They are a key communication tool; so they need to be accessible, to everyone.

Ensuring all members of society are able to use your website provides equity, demonstrates good social responsibility, makes sound business sense and, in many cases, complies with anti-discriminatory legislation. Most importantly, it means everyone has the best opportunity possible to engage with you.

Examples of barriers that people with low vision or blindness may encounter on the web can include:

  • Images that do not have alternative text
  • Complex images (for example, graphs or charts) that are not adequately described
  • Video that is not described in text or audio
  • Tables that do not make sense when read serially (in a cell-by-cell or ‘linearised’ mode)
  • Frames that do not have “NOFRAME” alternatives, or that do not have meaningful names
  • Forms that cannot be tabbed through in a logical sequence or that are poorly labelled
  • Browsers and authoring tools that lack keyboard support for all commands
  • Browsers and authoring tools that do not use standard applications programmer interfaces for the operating system they are based in
  • Non-standard document formats that may be difficult for their screen reader to interpret
  • Web pages with absolute font sizes that do not change (enlarge or reduce) easily
  • Web pages that, because of inconsistent layout, are difficult to navigate when enlarged, due to loss of surrounding context
  • Web pages, or images on Web pages, that have poor contrast, and whose contrast cannot be easily changed through user override of author style sheets
  • Text presented as images, which prevents wrapping to the next line when enlarged

Source: Introduction to Web Accessibility, W3C Web Accessibility Initiative