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Information Technology Systems and Services

What is Web Accessibility?

Web accessibility refers to web page information/content being obtainable and functional to people with disabilities. It is about providing access to information for those who would otherwise lose their opportunity to use the web. Accessibility is a sub-group of universality.

Definitions From Others:

"Accessible" means a person with a disability is afforded the opportunity to acquire the same information, engage in the same interactions, and enjoy the same services as a person without a disability in an equally effective and equally integrated manner, with substantially equivalent ease of use. The person with a disability must be able to obtain the information as fully, equally and independently as a person without a disability. Although this might not result in identical ease of use compared to that of persons without disabilities, it still must ensure equal opportunity to the educational benefits and opportunities afforded by the technology and equal treatment in the use of such technology. - Department of Justice and The Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights: South Carolina Technical College System Resolution Agreement (PDF), University of Cincinnati Resolution Agreement (PDF), Youngstown State University Resolution Agreement (PDF)

Web accessibility means that websites, tools, and technologies are designed and developed so that people with disabilities can use them. More specifically, people can:

  • perceive, understand, navigate, and interact with the Web
  • contribute to the Web

-W3C Web Accessibility Initiative

Information, regardless of form, structure or presentation, that can be accessed by any person, regardless of ability. - Michael G. Paciello

A web site or other software is accessible when people with disabilities can use it effectively and for the same purpose(s) as people without disabilities. - John Slatin

Accessibility involves making allowances for characteristics a person cannot readily change. - Joe Clark

Web accessibility is really a human rights issue. As more and more aspects of daily life -- from shopping to news to voting -- move online, it's crucial to ensure that we don't inadvertently exclude those people who can most benefit from this ongoing revolution and evolution. A user who can't drive to the store has a lot to gain from an online grocery service; a user without the ability to read the printed newspaper will find great value in online editions. These are real benefits of the Internet age, and they're often taken for granted by those who don't have major disabilities. - Kynn Bartlett

Basically, technology is accessible if it can be used as effectively by people with disabilities as by those without. - Jim Thacher

The power of the Web is in its universality. Access by everyone regardless of disability is an essential aspect. - Tim Berners-Lee

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