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Website Accessibility

The web is an increasingly important resource in many aspects of life. It is essential that the web is equally accessible to people with disabilities.

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) develops interoperable technologies (specifications, guidelines, software and tools) to lead the web to its full potential.

Benefits of Accessibility

The most obvious benefit of web accessibility is that it helps people with disabilities enjoy your website’s content, products, and services. However, there are many other benefits that might surprise you:

  • Legal: Depending on what organisation or business your website is for, it is a legal requirement for your website is accessible.
  • Wider audience: 20% of people have some sort of disability. It could be temporary like a broken arm or just holding a coffee in one hand, or permanent. By having an accessible website, you widen your audience to all people on the web.
  • Positive PR: By taking a stand on web accessibility, you’ll be building the foundation of a positive brand image for your organization.
  • Improve SEO: Building accessible website helps people with disabilities better understand the content of your website. But with cleaner structures, better navigation, alt text for images and video transcripts, it also helps search bots accessing the content of your site.
  • Increasing usability: Accessibility makes a website more usable by people with disabilities. But with cleaner interfaces and easier navigation it improves the usability of the site for everyone.
  • Higher-quality code: Websites that are created with accessibility in mind tend to have a higher-quality code base. This has a variety of benefits for your website, including better maintainability, fewer bugs, and faster loading times.

Accessibility is an investment in a better web.

The Basics

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) provide a standard for web content accessibility that meets the needs of individuals, organizations, and governments internationally. They provide a list of guidelines, organised under 4 priciples:

  1. Perceivable - Information and user interface components must be presentable to users in ways they can perceive. This means that users must be able to perceive the information being presented (it can't be invisible to all of their senses).

  2. Operable - User interface components and navigation must be operable. This means that users must be able to operate the interface (the interface cannot require interaction that a user cannot perform).

  3. Understandable - Information and the operation of user interface must be understandable. This means that users must be able to understand the information as well as the operation of the user interface (the content or operation cannot be beyond their understanding).

  4. Robust - Content must be robust enough that it can be interpreted reliably by a wide variety of user agents, including assistive technologies. This means that users must be able to access the content as technologies advance (as technologies and user agents evolve, the content should remain accessible).

If any of these are not true, users with disabilities will not be able to use your website.

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Silverstripe and Accessibility

Silverstripe is a very flexible framework and CMS that completely separates the front-end of the website from the CMS.

This means that Silverstripe doesn't limit your way of building the design and functionality of your website in any way. It makes it easier to integrate Accessibility into the website than with other frameworks like e.g. WordPress.

Ready to take your website to the next level? Talk to us now about making a difference on the web.

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