Accessibility refers to how accessible a website is to people, particularly those with disabilities or non-standard browsers (such as mobile phones). This includes people with visual impairment such as colour blindness, long sightedness or blindness), learning difficulties and an inability to use a mouse or keyboard.
As an example of what testing engines use to assess accessibility Sitebeam uses these key metrics:
- Alternative Text test
- Broken Links test
- Headings test
- Internal Search test
- Mobile test
- Readability test
- Redirections test
- Search Engine Results test
- Speed test
- Stylesheets test
- URL Format test
- W3C Compliance test
Why is it important?
- More people can use accessible websites. Even from an entirely ‘selfish’ perspective, inaccessible websites turn away potential business.
- The principles behind accessible websites are extremely similar to those for good SEO and tend to ensure greater compatibility with web browsers, particularly future ones.
- Accessible websites are usually easier to use for everyone, regardless of disability or access platform.
- In some countries a certain level of accessibility is a legal requirement. Failure to make a website sufficiently accessible is considered discrimination against people with disabilities.
- Lastly it’s just the right thing to do. You’ll be helping improve the quality of life for disabled users by allowing them to access your information along with everyone else.