Why every website should be accessible

In today’s diverse society websites need to be accessible by everyone. For Australian Government websites the rules are clear.

Under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992, Australian Government agencies are required to ensure information and services are provided in a non-discriminatory accessible manner. [http://www.australia.gov.au/accessibility]

There is a growing expectation that every website, government or commercial, should be accessible to everyone. People who feel frustrated that they can’t fairly access a site are beginning to take action against sites that are not designed to be accessible.

Australian supermarket chain, Coles, is currently facing legal action from Gisele Mesange. Ms Mesange has been legally blind since birth and says she is being discriminated against because of accessibility problems with the Coles website. [ABC News]

How do you make sure a site is accessible?

People with vision impairment make use of screen readers and alternate input devices to navigate and interact with websites. A website need to be specifically tailored to ensure it works with these devices.

Here are some of the considerations:

  • Care needs to be taken with labelling of all elements.
  • For graphics, consideration needs to be paid to contrast so that information can be read by everyone.
  • Your site needs to be completely navigable by keyboard.
  • Image only technologies like Flash should be avoided.

At ZOAK Solutions we’ve been building accessible web applications for many years. We’ve developed the expertise in making the right design decisions, and have developed a full accessibility testing service to help our clients to reach and maintain compatibility.

Through this rigorous process we conduct a full website accessibility assessment and provide a detailed report that identifies the areas which need to be addressed to meet Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) version 2.0, to a conformance level of AA (as required by the Australian Government).

If that all sounds like mumbo jumbo please get in touch. We will talk you through the implications of the relevant accessibility standards and explain how ZOAK Solutions can help to ensure your web assets are updated to meet these critical accessibility standards.

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