Here at @UK, we are well aware of accessibility issues that are raised by users of the internet. As producers of websites used by a large number of visitors, we are working hard to ensure that allnew sites we produce are accessible.
For a website to be accessible, people with or without disabilities must be able to perceive, understand, navigate and interact with websites.
In the UK it is actually illegal for a service provider to discriminate against disabled people. So, this means that websites providing a service need to cater for all users, abled or disabled, sighted or non-sighted.How do you make a website accessible to a blind person? Technology provides the answer through the use of screenreaders - these pieces of software do their best to read out information displayed on a website.As a web site owner, there are key measures you can take to ensure that a web page is as friendly as possible to screen readers (one example would be using text instead of images).
Around 2 million people in the UK self-define themselves as having a sight problem or seeing difficulty. Source: http://www.rnib.org.uk
As it turns out, making a website accessible can really enhance your search engine rankings - essentially because you''re making the content of your site much more visible to search engines. Layout and images are generally removed to external stylesheets which the search engine spiders can ignore.
There are a number of guidelines set out by the W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) relating to accessibility. These break down as follows:
There are a number of automated website checkers out there where you can simply enter your website address, and you''ll be informed of any ''errors'' relating to accessibility. Whilst useful, these should not be relied upon. For example, an automated checker will tell you if an image has alternative text, but it cannot tell you if that alternative text is sensible and related to the image in a meaningful way.