Part of a Whole

My name is Nicolas Steenhout.
I speak, train, and consult about inclusion, accessibility and disability.

Accessibility is not Just for Screenreader Users

We talk about web accessibility, and we most often end up talking about screendreader. Even people who eat and breathe accessibility often end up reverting to that when we meet and discuss our pet topics. But there are many people with different disability types that will benefit from accessibility. And obviously, those without a disability may also benefit from it.

People who are blind or have vision issues face most of the barriers on the internet today. They are far from being the only one. The following are only some examples of problems that can be encountered:

Mobility impairments
If you are quadriplegic, chances are you are not using a mouse, and need to use the keyboard to navigate. If the site’s navigation cannot be triggered only with the keyboard, this can cause problems. It might also affect some people with RSI or OOS.
Hearing Impairments
If you are deaf or hard of hearing, podcasts or video’s sound track are mostly useless. If the site doesn’t provide transcripts or real-time captioning, it will cause problems.
Colour blindness
If you are colour blind, you are unable to distinguish between some colours. If the site uses problematic colours, particularly to convey information, they won’t be able to make sense of the site.
Learning impairments
If you have dyslexia, certain fonts or layouts are more difficult to decode. If the site uses, for example, fully justified text, it will be harder for people to get meaning out of your web page.
Neurological impairments
If you have a seizure disorder, some flashing patterns will trigger seizures. If the site uses flashing or blinking elements, it might cause problems. It might not be a full blown seizure, but it might be a headache or a migraine.
And there are other situations too long to list here

It is important to realise that there are more people affected than people with vision impairments. It is almost impossible to satisfy everyone’s every accessibility need at all times. But with careful consideration of what barriers might be avoided during site development, we can create sites that are accessible and usable by most people most of the time.