Accessibility

You may ask “So why the big deal about accessibility on this site?” Well the answer is simple; we wanted to highlight the importance of why sites should be accessible to users with some form of disability.

Although it can be difficult to make every site 100% accessible for disabled users (client requirements, technical requirements or design requirements may hinder this approach), it is none the less important to strive to make sites fulfil basic accessibility guidelines.

Site accessibility is the right thing to do. Site accessibility represents an important step toward independence for individuals with disabilities. In addition, accessibility allows users with disabilities to participate in day-to-day activities many of us take for granted, such as reading a newspaper or buying a gift for a loved one online.

Around 10 percent of the world’s population, or 650 million people, live with a disability – usinfo.state.gov

Prevalence of disability by age in the U.S.

Resource: U.S. Census Bureau: Americans with Disabilities

Accessibility centers around two basic key issues: firstly, how individuals with disabilities access
electronic information, and secondly, how interface based content designers and developers
such as PQG enable electronic information based pages to function with assistive devices used
by individuals with disabilities.For a user with a disability, the challenge is to identify tools that provide the most convenient way to access interface information. For the interface designer/developer, the challenge is to eliminate the obstacles that prevent accessibility tools from functioning effectively. In many cases, these challenges are relatively simple to solve, but sometimes the solutions require some additional thought and effort to conclude, especially when dealing with established web sites and complex systems.

The most important thing to remember is that accessible sites aren’t dull or lacking in design quality. Accessible sites represent the best experience for all, regardless of disability.

Accessibility standards help interface developers of web content identify and address accessibility
issues. The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) published by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has established guidelines for accessible interface design. This standard consists of 14 guidelines, each with three checkpoint levels for web developers to meet: Priority One, Priority Two, and Priority Three.In individual countries, national standards have also emerged. Section 508 of the U.S. Rehabilitation Act is based on WCAG Priority One checkpoints. These same checkpoints serve as the basis for standards in Australia, France, Germany, and many other countries. The Common Look and Feel standard in Canada and Guidelines for U.K. Government Web Sites in the United Kingdom are based on Priorities One and Two of the WCAG.

Users with disabilities rely on software and hardware to access web based content. These tools, are often referred to as assistive technology, they can range from screen readers to touch screens and head pointers.

Visually impaired usersBlind users of web interfaces usually rely on software called a screen reader to read the contents of a web page out loud. Two of the most common screen readers are; JAWS and Window-Eyes. Screen readers work by enabling users to hear the contents of a web interface, rather than read it; however, a screen reader operates by only vocalizing the text displayed and not images or animations. To overcome this problem images and animations be assigned text descriptions that screen readers can understand.
Nerve damage, arthritis, or repetitive motion injuriesUsers with physical mobility issues may enable use of the keyboard instead of the mouse to navigate web content simply because use of the mouse may not be comfortable or possible.In some cases, users may depend on touch screenshead pointers, or other such assistive devices. The most common, a touch screen allows a user to navigate web content using his or her hands without relying on the mouse. A head pointer is simply a stick placed in a person’s mouth or mounted on a head strap that the user operates to interact with a keyboard or a touch screen.
Accessibility allows you to create new market opportunities. Additional accessibility options are already being adopted among western Government and educational institutions hence the requirement for products and services to support this initiative is rapidly growing. Online businesses that understand section 508 and the accessibility guidelines published by W3C can maintain a stronger market advantage.PQG are happy to *advise you on accessibility options for you sites whatever platform they may run on and, how with a few simple steps turn your online business into a winning experience for users with a disability.*Costing for reporting and analysis of your online business can be identified through our rate card. To gain a copy of the PQG rate card of services please contact us.