What is Web Accessibility?

The internet is arguably one of the greatest tools available in the 21st century. It provides information, resources, entertainment, and the ability to interact with other individuals near and far, among many, many other things.

Web accessibility, in its most basic sense, simply means that any individual, using any internet-enabled device, can access and interact with online content.

More specifically, the topic tends to focus on whether individuals with disabilities can access online content. Many people take for granted the ability to easily surf the web and find exactly what they are looking for. For a large percentage of the population, though, that’s not always the case.

Millions of people around the world have disabilities that impact not only their day to day lives, but also their use of the web. This includes visual, auditory, physical, speech, cognitive, and neurological disabilities. Unfortunately, many technological barriers prevent these individuals from accessing the same resources and information as the rest of the general public.

As different types of disabilities require different types of accommodations, in order to be able to meet the needs of the widest range of individuals, the World Wide Web Consortium has put together a series of technical guidelines and techniques that describe how to make a site accessible to the largest possible audience, known as the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.