Accessibility is for Everybody

When I’m talking about web site accessibility, I often find myself qualifying at times, “accessibility, especially for those with disabilities.” At first, I’d catch it and ponder if that was a redundant statement.

It isn’t at all redundant. Making a web site “accessible” doesn’t strictly mean making it easier to navigate for those with disabilities. By structuring a website with clean, correct and orderly code, images and text with sufficient color contrast, supplying meaningful alt tags, logical tabbing order, etcetera, you’re creating an experience that’s all around better for all visitors.

Clean, concise site navigation benefits everybody. Descriptive links that actually identify where they are taking you benefits everybody. Forms that are properly labeled and orderly benefit everybody.

There are also people visiting your site with slower Internet connections. There are those who prefer browsers other than just Internet Explorer or Firefox.

There are also visitors to your sites who particularly prefer semantic, clean code. They’re called search engines. Poor or nonexistent titles and header tags hurt search relevant, in addition to giving screen readers a hard time identifying pages and elements.

Accessibility covers a whole lot of ground beyond just disabilities.

4 thoughts on “Accessibility is for Everybody

  1. Ross Monaghan

    Steve, great post! Loved the “search engine” call out :). I can totally relate to you here. Even within SEO, we find ourselves questioning whether adding another keyword variation is going to come across spammy. Sure there are always “those SEO’s” (you know who you are) who try and spam the engines, but for the most part SEO adds to the entire usability and find-ability of the site. If all title tags are the same, or link within the content read “click here”, how does that help anyone? Nice job!

  2. Steve Post author

    Thanks for the post, Ross — it just goes to show that none of these disciplines are effective in a vacuum. Design, accessibility, SEO, user experience = they are all pieces to the same puzzle of making sites easier to find and easier to navigate.

  3. Steve Post author

    And thanks for the Web Axe post — those reading this: do make a point of checking out that podcast and the Web Axe blog overall. It’s one of the best accessibility-focused blogs out there.

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