Archive for November, 2008

Web accessibilty and the current situation

by on Nov.20, 2008, under Web

A collegue approached me the other day to discuss accessibility with regards the sitebuilder software I develop at work. We carried out some tests on one of the sites that had been created usning the software and it turns out that it is a lot more accessible than I thought it was. With a couple of tweaks here and there I can get all the sites that the system produces to pass the WCAG 1.0 AA level of accessibility.

This got me thinking about the current state of standards on the internet. I even posted a question a on Linkedin which revealed some interesting answers. It seems that most professionals do actually abide by some form of standard beit accessibility related or validation related. The conclusion I have drawn from the answers on Linkedin and my own personal experience is that if you conform to one of the main standards out there (WGAC or one of the many HTML validators out there) then chances are you will meet the majority of criteria from one of the others and with a small amount of tweaking you can create a site which is both valid and accessible to around 95% of users who frequent the internet.

I was also reminded of the Disability and Discrimation Act (DDA) which in the UK states that websites need to be accessible by all who wish to view them. The problem with this law is that it is vague with regards how far you need to go in order to comply with it. The other problem with this law is that there is nobody policing it, if there was then maybe the standard on the internet would be a little higher.

A couple of questions to think about are:

  1. Are your current systems accessibly?
  2. If so, how far did you go (i.e. WCAG 1.0 AAA)?
  3. If not, why not?
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