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Web Accessibility Overview

What does "Web Accessibility" really mean? What all does that term encompass? Why is it that some people are unable to use certain web sites - and whose job is it to provide access? How can you learn more about this topic?

What is Web Accessibility?

Web accessibility means that web information/content is obtainable and functional to people with disabilities. As a sub-group of universality, it refers to providing access for those who would otherwise lose their opportunity to use the web. A correctly designed web site or application is inclusive providing multi-modal access. For instance it communicates effectively aurally as well as visually. The strengths of the web, which makes it unique as a medium of communication, is that it isn't limited to a single output. That is the beauty.

The Why and Who of Web Accessibility

Numerous reasons exist for making the web accessible. An underlying concept in the following video "Personal Look at Accessibility in Higher Education", which highlights the personal stories of several students and faculty members and their experience with the lack of access to digital content, is that:

Inaccessible Web content affects student experiences and learning, faculty and staff productivity, and overall timeliness and efficiency. Institutions of higher education have an obligation to provide accessible web content...

In particular, Cherissa Alldredge a doctoral student with visual/memory impairment explains how an accessible website enables the path to academic success:

I can be equally as successful as any of my colleagues without disabilities. The fact that I need an accessible website or other accessibility tools doesn't diminish the value of my education or my potential. It just means that my success has to occur in a different way. And so I would encourage those watching this video not to assume that I can't. But to assume that I can.

A Transcript of the Video: "A Personal Look at Accessibility in Higher Education" is available. The video was produced by the GOALS project of the National Center on Disability and Access to Education.

Learn More in Our Next eClass

To learn more join us for the ITSS Introduction to Web Accessibility eClass, which will be offered February 11 to 22, 2013.

Further Information