Website Accessibility is a big topic in Web Design at the moment, but what exactly does it mean?Â Well, itâ€™s about making sure a website can be seen and used by as many people as possible.Â The main emphasis is on making sure that people with sight problems or problems using a mouse can still use the website easily, however this isnâ€™t the only reason to make a site accessible.
Of course, that isnâ€™t all.Â There are other things you can do to make a site accessible â€“ such as having different contrast themes to help people see your text and many others.Â Website accessibility is such a huge topic that it is impossible to know everything you can do.Â It is a continual learning process â€“ I am always finding new things I can do to make better websites.
This all seems like a lot of effort, why should I bother with it?Â Well, for starters, it is the law.Â It is illegal in both the UK and the US to produce a website that is not accessible.Â By not doing it, you open yourself to possible legal action from someone who wants to use a website but canâ€™t.Â But that isnâ€™t the only reason.Â An accessible website is easier to use for everyone, not just the disabled.
Now I’ve told you about accessibility and why it is important, I think its time to let you know why I’ve taken the time to explain it.
At Swansea University, there are a number of websites that are used by students every day.Â For example, Blackboard â€“ our virtual learning environment website â€“ provides access to course information, documents and assignments; Voyager is used to search for books in the library; and the Students’ Union site provides SU news and details of SU events.
Are any of these websites accessible?Â No.Â How is a disabled student supposed to get access to assignments on Blackboard when it is completely inaccessible?
Tomorrow (Thursday) there is a motion in the Student General Meeting to lobby the University and Students’ Union to improve the accessibility of their websites.Â Please come along to Faraday A at 6pm to support this motion and show the university that it is important to ensure their sites are useable by everyone.