A simple introduction to web accessibility

1/5 of the population has a disability. That’s a lot of people that we could be potentially failing to reach.

Accessibility is catering for your whole audience, including those with disabilities. Disabilities are when someone’s medical condition comes up against barriers that get in the way of them being able to fully participate (social model of disability) – for example, a flight of stairs to get into a bar, a discriminating comment, food on a high shelf in a supermarket, or an unusable web form.

As designers, developers and copywriters we’re often responsible for causing disability, by creating these barriers. But we also have the power to avoid them or remove them, not just gaining traffic but also improving people’s lives in the process.

Accessibility is about reaching as much of your target audience as possible. To do that the first step is to understand who that audience is and what their needs are. The disabled audience is sometimes thought of as being something like this:

A cloud of assorted medical conditions

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