Pico Web Design :: Services :: Accessibility

By: Pico  05/12/2011
Keywords: web design, mobile internet

Why should you make your website design accessible?

In 2002 the National Census and the Quarterly National Household Survey (QNHS) made additions to include questions about disability. The Census found “that 8.3% of all [Irish] persons are classified as having a disability”. The QNHS in the same year found that “about 10% of persons aged 15 to 64 indicated that they had a longstanding health problem or disability and that about 40% of these were in employment”.

Commercial Benefits:

The annual expenditure of people with disabilities is enormous so it would therefore be incredibly foolish business practice to exclude them. The common analogy is a shop where a person comes to the counter with some goods they wish to purchase. They have the money to pay but due to their disability they are unable to hand it to you so you must step around the counter to take the money from them. Refusing to make this small effort is the real world equivalent of not making your website accessible.

Search Engine Benefits:

Search engines visiting your site ignore all layout, graphical and visual elements. All the search engine is concerned with is content and how to navigate through it. In this sense a search engine is very much like a blind user using a screen reader. So making your site accessible instantly makes it friendlier to search engines and will positively affect your ranking.

What are the Accessibility Issues?

People with accessibility concerns can be broken down into three broad sections: People with physical disabilities, hardware issues and educational issues.

Physical Disabilities:

A large percentage of the population are affected by some form of reduced vision ranging from simple long / short-sightedness to complete blindness. Making your website accessible to these users need not be a difficult or expensive exercise. For example, guideline 1.2 states: “Ensure that information does not rely on colour perception”. A common violation of this guideline is when websites highlight new content in a different colour. Users who suffer from colour blindness or who are using screen readers will not be aware of the distinction. Simply adding the word "new" to the content title would make you compliant!


Today, people are accessing the Internet via myriad new devices - the mobile internet audience is the fastest growing internet audience. Many of the features of the Internet are not available or feasible on these devices and so your website should adapt to give the the optimum user experience regardless of the device. Similarly, users viewing a website should enjoy the same experience regardless of what browser they are using. Finally, users have the ability to change the screen resolution on their computer. The website should display correctly regardless of whether the user has 800x600 or 1920x1200.

Knowledge and Ability:

Many people these days use the Internet on a daily basis. However, people less familiar to the Internet may not be aware of how some of the most basic things work. For example, one of the most common searches on Google is actual URL's as users believe this is how you access a website. A clear, intuitive layout along with makes the browsing experience a simple, natural process.

Keywords: mobile internet, web design

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