December 16, 2016 Web content: Communication with universal reach

By Jay Carmichael

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Print media — such as newspapers, magazines and books — hold a firm space in society as the tools businesses can use to disseminate information to customers. While print still has a place in certain circumstances, it can actually be a barrier to information.

People who live with a disability can’t always access printed content, especially if they are vision-impaired, or have a learning or physical impairment. Moving information online is now commonplace, and most businesses, governments or otherwise have website where users can access the services they need. Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the world wide web, said in 1997: ‘The power of the web is in its universality. Access by everyone regardless of disability is an essential aspect.’

Avion’s Director, Natalie Khoo, has previously written about making your website accessible, and the things that need to be checked against web accessibility guidelines.

Making web content accessible: an example

When you watch the example of an accessible video below, make sure you turn on Closed Captions. Take note of how it differs to other videos you have watched.

Designing for accessibility: the impact of disability

Disability can include:

  • Hearing — deafness
  • Seizure disorders — photo-sensitive epileptic seizures
  • Cognitive — distractibility, memory, learning and intellectual difficulties
  • Literacy — difficulty with language often due to undiagnosed disabilities
  • Vision — blindness, low vision, colour-blindness
  • Physical — can’t use a mouse, limited fine motor control

These disabilities can affect a user’s internet navigation if the website they wish to use hasn’t been set up in an accessible way.

For example, if a user has a physical/motor impairment — e.g. a spinal cord injury; cerebral palsy — they could require non-mouse access to a website’s functions. If they are using a mouse, their fine motor skills aren’t as accurate, and so they can have difficulty with small ‘hotspots’ or CTA buttons. A person with a hearing impairment may need transcripts of audio or captions on videos, while a person with a cognitive impairment may require clear and consistent interfaces with no distracting movements.

With nearly 13 million people subscribed to an internet provider in 2016, almost every Australian can access the internet somehow. But, how each person accesses the internet differs — desktop, mobile, tablet — and each way alters their experience of using the internet.

Using accessibility techniques: who can help you

At Avion Communications, we actively consolidate web accessibility techniques into our client work so people with disabilities can navigate webpages and information easily. We can advise you on making your website use easier to use and universal – no matter the device or the user’s ability – by incorporating web accessibility.

If you’d like to know more about making your website accessible, contact the Avion team today. And by doing so, your business can help the 1 in 5 Australians who live with a disability navigate and access your information and services.