Accessibility


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Accessibility is one of the important issues on the Internet. In the past, people with disabilities have had a hard time accessing information via the internet. The development of technologies such as E-Text, Adaptive Technology and ICT has helped the World Wide Web to be more accessible, but companies or employers often think that it is too much trouble for them.

Accessibility should be equal among everyone; people should not be limited to any access of information or resources because of their disabilities. As the populations with some sort of disabilities are growing around the world, people should be more aware of them and to get everyone involved instead of ignoring a certain group. Companies should focus on equal access by spending more resources into these areas and to try to eliminate barriers. They can try to provide alternative text instead of images, convey information with or without colour to help increase the visibility for the ones who suffer from colour blindness. Governments as well should help prevent the inequality of accessibility through the use of legislation or beneficial plans. Therefore, sites or any information that are provided should be ensured that whoever accesses their site should receive the same experiences as how others do.

Some companies have already taken responsibility for their actions and have implemented accessibility features into their web pages. One Canadian example is Loblaw Supermarkets Limited. Owned by the George Weston Corporation, Loblaws and its affiliated banners' sites have all been designed with the user in mind. Loblaws.ca provides users with a series of features that makes navigating throughout the site or downloading the store flyer easy for everyone. Zoom tools, clean design layout with good contrast as well as interactive features like compatible Adobe PDF files, and cascading style sheets are just some of the features Loblaws.ca incorporated to maximize usability. Initiatives such as this are important in making web pages equally accessible where all users can freely access content should be standard.

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has a set of guidelines for how web pages should be formatted and take into consideration usability and accessibility factors to accomodate all users. Several recommendations vary from implementing contrast throughout a web page, avoiding tedious colors that are strenuous on the eyes such as bright red or lime green, using web safe colors and using Cascading Style Sheets (CSS).


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Image from: http://www.utexas.edu/research/accessibility/