What is Web accessibility?
Web accessibility means that people with disabilities can use the Web. More specifically, Web accessibility means that people with disabilities can perceive, understand, navigate, and interact with the Web, and that they can contribute to the Web. Web accessibility also benefits others, including older people with changing abilities due to aging.
Web accessibility encompasses all disabilities that affect access to the Web, including visual, auditory, physical, speech, cognitive, and neurological disabilities.
Millions of people have disabilities that affect their use of the Web. Currently most Web sites and Web software have accessibility barriers that make it difficult or impossible for many people with disabilities to use the Web. As more accessible Web sites and software become available, people with disabilities are able to use and contribute to the Web more effectively.
Web accessibility also benefits people without disabilities. For example, a key principle of Web accessibility is designing Web sites and software that are flexible to meet different user needs, preferences, and situations. This flexibility also benefits people without disabilities in certain situations, such as people using a slow Internet connection, people with "temporary disabilities" such as a broken arm, and people with changing abilities due to aging.
Why Web Accessibility is Important
The Web is an increasingly important resource in many aspects of life: education, employment, government, commerce, health care, recreation, and more. It is essential that the Web be accessible in order to provide equal access and equal opportunity to people with disabilities. An accessible Web can also help people with disabilities more actively participate in society.
The Web offers the possibility of unprecedented access to information and interaction for many people with disabilities. That is, the accessibility barriers to print, audio, and visual media can be much more easily overcome through Web technologies.
Another important consideration for organizations is that Web accessibility is required by laws and policies in some cases. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 states that K12 institutions cannot discriminate against people with disabilities. The Justice Department has ruled that this act applies to the web, not just to places that can be accessed physically. Texas House Bill 2819 requires access to electronic and information resources by individuals with disabilities.
What is SAISD doing to Make our Website Accessible
The Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) has developed guidelines and techniques that describe accessibility solutions for Web software and Web developers. These WAI guidelines are considered the international standard for Web accessibility.
While there is always room to improve in the area of accessibility, SAISD has madean effort to create a website that is accessible to all users. Some of the areas outlined by the WAI that have been addressed include:
- Using structural markup according to specification
- Creating documents that validate to published formal grammars
- Providing text equivalent or 'Alt Tags' for all images and non-text elements
- Using style sheets to control layout and presentation
- Ensuring documents may be easily read without style sheets
- Using tables only for displaying data and identifying table row and column headers
- Ensuring that pages are usable when scripts, applets, or other programmatic objects are turned off
- Avoiding content that flickers or blinks
- Providing clear and concistent navigation mechanisms