Website Accessibility

EDIT 526 at George Mason University
Summer 2023

Did you know that people with disabilities are abused at higher rates than non-disabled people?

Accessibility for all

My Philosophy on Website Accessibility

image of a depressed man sitting in a wheelchair parked in front of stairs
This man is encountering a world made for able-bodied people and suddenly his disability becomes a handicap, requiring accomodation.

Legislation on Accessibility

  1. Education law I.D.E.A., Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, mandates the L.R.E., or Least Restrictive Environment, for all students with an IEP, or Individual Education Plan. This law originated as the Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975, which simply mandated that all children, even those with disabilities, could attend public school. It also gauranteed LRE, IEPs, ensured due process was followed and that every child was entitled to a Free and Appripriate Public Education, F.A.P.E.

  2. The Americans with Disabilities Act, signed into law in 1990, was inspired by I.D.E.A. This made it illegal for employers to discriminate based on disability and that all new buildings, and some old ones, had to be fitted to allow for handicap access. It protects discrimination that is disability related such as housing, parking, driving, living, healthcare, public spaces, and schools. It is not all-inclusive of every situation but does provide general guidelines that could be followed.

Ways to make your website more accessible:

Comparing Accessibility Standards for Images

Level of Accessibility for images Standard
A A standards: Donec egestas tempor lorem, id vulputate diam. Phasellus fringilla neque nibh, nec faucibus erat finibus non. Mauris in ipsum vitae magna iaculis maximus et vel odio. Donec nec tortor molestie, mollis tellus in, iaculis ligula. Morbi posuere convallis felis, at bibendum lectus pretium at. Donec mattis purus dui, sed feugiat tortor tincidunt at. Etiam eget lacus neque. Integer blandit a quam sed aliquet. Suspendisse nec consequat arcu, vel finibus neque. Integer quam quam, congue eu fermentum non, semper at magna. Maecenas sollicitudin scelerisque metus eget laoreet. Nam porttitor est eget nibh mollis, eget faucibus ipsum faucibus. Sed blandit justo id pharetra venenatis. Mauris aliquam mollis diam, et convallis quam varius vitae. Fusce eu enim quis sem hendrerit congue at nec velit. Suspendisse potenti.
AA AA standards: Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Pellentesque non ornare nisi. Donec pellentesque aliquam leo, ac porttitor nulla lobortis quis. Curabitur eu commodo libero. Fusce condimentum vehicula dui eu ornare. Fusce ultricies magna nec tortor fermentum posuere. Fusce nec turpis orci. Suspendisse augue diam, semper et finibus non, mollis ut sapien. Orci varius natoque penatibus et magnis dis parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus. Phasellus est neque, fermentum ac magna vitae, scelerisque rhoncus risus. Proin consequat in turpis in semper. Sed vitae pellentesque ipsum. Nullam pharetra vitae massa eget volutpat.
AAA AAA standards: In hac habitasse platea dictumst. Praesent mollis suscipit metus, ac feugiat diam viverra id. Mauris id rhoncus odio. Mauris metus sem, commodo eget cursus eget, rhoncus non libero. Donec erat lorem, tincidunt ac posuere pellentesque, euismod sit amet erat. Cras eros nunc, sodales at venenatis ac, tristique non nunc. Quisque commodo euismod efficitur. Suspendisse potenti. Integer vehicula euismod leo at lacinia.

Photo of Author Philosophy on Accessibility
Brunette smiles at camera standing in front of meadows and mountains in spring
Accessibility is important to me, as I not only identify as disabled, but I was a Special Education teacher and believe that a disability should not handicap a person when they have the option of independence. Independence, or the least restrictive environment, should always be used when possible. It promotes respect and accomodation without compaints for the disabled person.

Inclusion should be the standard everywhere, including in digital products. Users should be able to use a website using a screen reader, toggle through it with a keyboard, use a mouse, or a pointer in the case of a mobility impairment. Websites should exceed WCAG 2.0 standards by striving for the WCAG-defined AAA level of accessibility. This chart can be found at the WCAG consortium's website.

Accessibility benefits all users. When something is easier to use, it is more likely to be used. People with mild disabilties may benefit from good color contrast as much as an elderly user might benefit from the same good color contrasts for different reasons. Plus, good contrast is just good design and is pleasing to the eye, making your task more pleasant overall.
You can visit the Web Accessibility Initiative to learn more about web accessibility.

Hidden accessibility features are like finding easter eggs!

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