Accessibility on the Internet
The need for accessibility on the internet is often taken to mean how much a site is accessible to people with disabilities. We look at accessibility as a much broader issue. Accessible sites aren't those that only perform well for people with disabilities, but those that perform well for everybody.
Accessibility is closely linked to usability; the art of making things easy to use. It not only includes whether a site works well with a screen reader, but also whether a person can find their way quickly around the site to find information that they want to learn about. Easy to use navigation, sensible and consistent page layouts, useful instructions and hints, clear writing styles and the use of captions to describe non-text content (like images and videos) all help to make a site accessible and usable.
In addition to our own goals and standards for accessibility we also check our sites against the WCAG 1.0 and 2.0 industry guidelines on accessibility. Our recent brochure sites achieved the highest 'AAA' ratings for accessibility according to these standards.
In reality not all sites can achieve an AAA rating. Sites that are highly specialised in content with lots of complex or highly technical language, or images or videos, will always struggle to reach these highest standards. All sites can be improved by holding sites up to these criteria, however.
We start with the premise that the site should be AAA rated. If this is not achieved then it will be for very clear and definite reasons. We don't labour the point with our clients; we know that in most cases we can achieve this just by doing a good design job without any fanfare.
If you'd like to learn more about accessibility there are lots of sites out there that describe the issues that are covered. You can also read the WCAG guidelines on their website.