W3C – Making Your Website Accessible to People With Disabilities

Making Your Website Accessible to People With Disabilities

By Cecilia Santos

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In 2000, a blind man sued the Organizing Committee of the Sydney Olympic Games over the inaccessibility of their website. He won his case. The committee was fined AU$20,000 in a landmark decision, the first ever to categorize web accessibility as a legal obligation. The companies priceline.com and ramada.com followed suit in 2004, paying more than US$75,000 in settlement costs and undertaking efforts at improving their websites’ accessibility to persons with impairment and disabilities.

The improvements stipulated in the rulings are identified in reference to Priority 1 and 2 citations from the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines of the WorldWide Web Consortium Web Accessibility Initiative. Founded in 1994 under the directorship of web inventor Tim Berners-Lee, the W3C is a group of web professionals that set the standards for web development to ensure cross platform compliance among all websites. In laymen terms, this simply means that websites should work the same way on all web browsers. One key area the WorldWide Web Consortium focuses on is general accessibility to the internet which means that people with disabilities should also be able to use it.

Priority 1 guidelines outlined by the W3C are compliance matters that are mandatory. Priority 2 provisions on the other hand, are matters that should also be addressed and include the European Union-recommended level of compliance. Accessibility to persons with disabilities is guideline #1 with Level 1 priority on the W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. It specifically states that site developers should provide equivalent alternatives to auditory and visual content, and provide content that, when presented to the user, conveys essentially the same function or purpose as auditory or visual content.

Web accessibility does not only cover persons with visual and auditory disabilities but also encompasses those with motor impediments, speech, cognitive and neurological limitations that need special technology to access the internet.

Software has been developed to enable disabled persons to use the internet, and these programs only work with WorldWide Web Consortium compliant websites, so it is prudent and sensible to assure your website matches all the checkpoints provided in the W3C guidelines. Apart from simply satisfying the required guidelines and providing an alternative to disabled persons, conforming to the W3C accessibility standards brings other benefits that go beyond mere compliance.

For one, World Wide Web Consortium compliant websites get more visibility in search engines and receive more traffic. In addition to that, websites that are constructed following W3C guidelines take less time to develop because one that is coded using W3C standards are less likely to encounter glitches and snags. There will be less time spent debugging and more time spent developing the site itself.

Site stability is also another precept of World Wide Web Consortium compliant websites and ensures forward and backward adaptability as browsers progress in their development cycle. So if your website is W3C compliant, you can rest assured it will remain stable even when Internet Explorer comes out with Version 10.

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Article Source: https://EzineArticles.com/expert/Cecilia_Santos/421666

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WebDesignbyRick.com strives to ensure that its website is made easier to use and more accessible for people with disabilities, with the strong belief that every person has the right to live with dignity, equality, comfort and independence. WebDesignbyRick.com makes available the UserWay Website Accessibility Widget that is powered by a dedicated accessibility server. If you are experiencing difficulty with any content on WebDesignbyRick.com or require assistance with any part of our site, please contact us during normal business hours and we will be happy to assist.