What’s involved in making websites accessible?

It’s not unusual for people to think that making a website accessible requires complex code, fancy tricks, boring design and a lot of money. In fact, making websites accessible is straightforward once you know what’s involved.

The World Wide Web Consortium (affectionately known as W3C) has developed Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0) as the technical standard for measuring the accessibility of a website. The guidelines are governed by 4 principles: perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust.

  • Perceivable – Visitors can perceive the information on your site. In other words, the information can’t be invisible to all of their senses. For example, images on your site have alternative text that can be spoken to someone with a vision impairment or videos on your website have captioning so that a person with a hearing impairment can follow the script.
  • Operable – Visitors can interact with your website either using a mouse, a keyboard or other assistive devices.
  • Understandable – Visitors can understand the information you’ve provided. Your site avoids the use of jargon and the reading level of your content is suitable for your audience.
  • Robust – Your website is compatible with a wide variety of technologies such as screen readers and magnifiers. And, your site will still work as new technologies are developed. (How? Your site was built to standards and new technologies rely on that baseline)

Following these four principles is the key to making a website accessible