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Accessibility for the web - what is it and why do we need it

ari_o profile image Arika O Updated on ・1 min read

What is accessibility and what is the impact it has on disabled people when they're trying to use the web?

Accessibility refers to the design of products, devices, services, or environments for people with disabilities. The concept of accessible design ensures both “direct access” (i.e., unassisted) and "indirect access" meaning compatibility with a person's assistive technology (for example, computer screen readers).

In short, we can say that accessibility means anyone can access and benefit from our website - even people with disabilities/ special needs (for example, people with visual or hearing impairment, people with cognitive disabilities etc). With the increasing use of the Web, it is essential that it's accessible in order to provide equal access and equal opportunity to people with diverse abilities. This might come as a surprise to some but in many countries around the world, accessibility is regulated by law - this means it's mandatory to make sure our product can be used by everyone and we can be fined when this doesn't happen.

By ignoring accessibility when designing for the web, we risk penalties and we're excluding around 15% of Earth's population from using our product (number based on a 2011 World Health Organization report concerning disability). Building with everyone in mind is not only the right thing to do but it also helps SEO - the better the experience means that users spend more time on our website. The longer the visit, the better Google's algorithm ranks us.

Web accessibility depends on several factors working together, including web technologies, web browsers, authoring tools, websites etc.

Image source: Marvin Meyer/ @marvelous on Unsplash


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ruannawrites profile image

Love this topic – looking forward to your next post!

perpetual_education profile image
ari_o profile image
Arika O Author

Thank you for sharing.

eliowar28 profile image
Eliomar Garzon

Waiting for your next article, Good job.

ari_o profile image
Arika O Author

Thank you!

andrejmoltok profile image
Csokán Pál András

Thanks for the heads-up Silvia! As a developer, I definitely have to keep this in mind, when working on web solutions.