WEBSITE
ACCESSIBILITY


Scott Hortop
web consultant      web designer
photographer


WHAT IS ACCESSIBILITY?

Did you know that you have a legal obligation to make your website "accessible" - in particular to the visually impaired? Others, unable to use a mouse, rely on a keyboard to navigate your site. This is perfectly possible if the site design allows it.

Broadly, anyone could take legal action against you if they cannot access information on your site which an able bodied person can access.

If not worried about the legal aspects, or being a good citizen, then perhaps you should worry about the potential effect of 1.7 million individuals in the UK being either blind or partially sighted and very possibly excluded from your potential sales base.

WHAT IS THE SOLUTION?

The easiest thing is to build accessibility in from the start. So hire a web professional that takes it seriously - if they have an accessible site then that would be a good sign. (but it is difficult to tell - see opposite!)

If your site is already in place then it is often possible to make it accessible without materially affecting its appearance and functionality.

Finally, you can follow the example of Tesco.com and simply set up a separate, accessible, site running in parallel with the original.

Whatever you do, by law you have to make 'reasonable' efforts to make your site accessible. Hiring a web professional who claims to do this would be a sound defence should you ever finish up in court. Just make sure it's written into the contract that one thing you want is an accessible website.

 

 

 

So how does this site do?

Well, I'll give myself 2 out of 10 at present.

The images do carry information in 'alt' tags which help convey where they navigate. All the important text should be legible, and hopefully is. Navigation does not need a mouse. So it looks OK.....

However running accessibility software reveals numerous faults that I or you do not see but would render the page useless in the special browsers used by some handicapped people.

I have concluded that if I want to meet my obligations, I will have to set up a parallel accessible site. I am aware that to retain credibility I should do that - it is something that I will get around to.

At least I know that there is an issue on accessibility and I have taken an informed decision against other priorities that I have.

Have you?

 

 

 

 














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