Web accessibility is multifaceted, and it can feel overwhelmingly complex; however, it all boils down to three main principles:
- Can users with disabilities determine the purpose and structure of the website and its content?
- Can users with disabilities, especially those who are blind or who cannot use a mouse, navigate the website and perform all of the tasks that they came to do?
- Can users with disabilities interact with the website in their preferred or needed way?
These questions translate well into the four principles of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0—the current legal standard for web accessibility. Referred to as the POUR Principles, the four WCAG 2.0 principles are:
- Perceivable - Can the site visitor identify content and interface elements of the web page?
- Operable - Can the user successfully operate buttons, controls, navigation, and other necessary interactive elements?
- Understandable - Is the page design and interface predictable, consistent, and easily understood by the audience?
- Robust - Is the site coded in a standards-compliant way and operable by applicable technologies?
If you approach the design and implementation of your website with these questions and principles in mind it you will easily recognize accessibility issues, and solutions to those issues will all but present themselves. Your resulting website will be readily accessible and offer a positive user experience for all.
There is always more to learn about web accessibility, but these quick tips will empower you to recognize accessibility issues in websites that you use and prevent the most prevalent issues in web content that you create.
- Disabilities and the WebLearn how users with disabilities browse the web.
- Making Content PerceivableLearn how to make images, videos, and forms accessible; and how color affects accessibility.
- Ensuring OperabilityLearn how to make a site usable for those who cannot use a mouse.
- Making Content UnderstandableLearn how to use headings, lists, tables, and links accessibly.
- Ensuring RobustnessLearn about HTML and CSS standards, and some simple tests for accessibility.