Why Accessibility is important
There are at least three reasons that might motivate a company to create accessible web content:
- To improve the lives of people with disabilities (human-centered motivations)
- To capitalize on a wider audience or consumer base (marketing or economic-centered motivations)
- To avoid lawsuits and/or bad press (public relations and punishment-centered motivations)
Accessibility driven websites accomplish all these goals when people are at the center of the process.
The Kodemonkey team use the POUR principles set forth by the WCAG:
- 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)
- 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)
- 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)
- 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)
What is WCAG?
Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG),
developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) in cooperation with individuals and organizations around the world,
to provide a single shared standard for web content accessibility that meets the needs of individuals, organizations, and governments internationally.
The WCAG documents explain how to make web content more accessible to people with disabilities. Web "content" generally refers to the information no a web
page or web application, including:
- Natural information such as text, images, and sounds
- Code or markup that defines the structure, presentation, etc.
The WCAG is becoming a globally recognized voluntary consensus standard for web content. Information and Communication Technology (ICT)
follows these guidelines for their VPAT documents.
What is Section 508?
Is your business a federal agency, or do you receive funding/assistance from the federal government?
Then you are required to abide by section Section 508 requirements.
In 1998, Congress amended the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 requiring Federal agencies to make electronic documents accessible to people with disabilities.
Section 508 applies to all Federal agencies when it pertains to electronic
and information technology. Government agencies must give disabled employees and members of the public access to the same or comparable information as they do others.
The U.S. Access Board is responsible for developing accessibility standards that govern Federal
procurement practices. January 2017, they issued a final rule that updated accessibility requirements for section 508 and refreshed guidelines to Section 255.
The refresh reorganized Section 508 Standards and Section 255 Guidelines in response to market trends and innovations in technology.
The refresh also harmonized these requirements with other guidelines and standards both in the U.S. and abroad, including standards issued by the European Commission, and
W3C guidelines know as WCAG.