About Web Accessibility and the Primary Steps to Take
It is not difficult to avoid any web accessibility related issues if you are familiar with WCAG 2.0 standards. For developers and designers dealing with web projects, it is essential to follow all essential web accessibility practices and being compliant with the checklists. The properly laid out guidelines will help address the major accessibility related issues. Another important point to consider is that web accessibility is better addressed at the primary stages of the web development process than dealing with it later on as an afterthought once it adversely affects the website acceptance.
Even when the app or website is released, it required ongoing maintenance to ensure that it performs up to the market with the change requirements. Even on carefully designing a website and testing it for accessibility requirements, there may be a need for ongoing maintenance, continuous audit to ensure accessibility compliance. All organizations maintaining any web assets need to have someone who is assigned to routinely audit the accessibility compliance and quickly address if any issues arise. Further, let’s explore some essential web accessibility components.
Web accessibility essentials
All different components of web development and user interaction need to work together to make the website accessible to all sort of people with disabilities. The major components of web accessibility include:
- Web content, which is the information on a web page, which include text, sound, images, and videos, etc.
- Markup or code, which defines the presentation and structure of a website.
- User agents as web browsers, audio, and video players, and other third-party applications.
- Assistive technology as keyboards for disabled, screen readers, content scanning software, switches, etc.
- Authoring tools to create websites.
- Evaluation tools to check for web accessibility like HTML and CSS validation etc.
Interdependencies of components
There are many interdependencies also between different components, and these components should work in synchronization to make the web accessible to all. Say for examples, when we consider the image alt text for web accessibility includes:
- Alternate text where the HTML can define the alt text attribute of an image or similar element.
- The WAI guidelines like WCAG, UAAG, ATAG, etc., which define methods to implement the alt text for accessibility.
- Web developer defines proper and easily interpretable wordings for alt text.
- The authoring tools will facilitate and enable assigning alt text to the respective images on the web pages.
- The evaluation tool is used to check the relevancy of alternative texts.
- User agents offer proper machine and human recognizable interfaces to alt texts.
- The users with disabilities know how to get an alternative text from user agents and through assistive technology.
When the developer implements the essential accessibility features in one component, then it is made easier to implement the same on other components too. When all the web browsers, third-party players, user agents, and assistive technologies tend to support the features, then developers more likely tend to implement it, and the users also may likely demand it.