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Making your website accessible and inclusive for everyone should be a standard requirement.

Making your website accessible and inclusive for everyone should be a standard requirement.

 

Just in case: If you do need to know why, please read: Benefits of providing information on the internet for blind people.

 

Web accessibility refers to the inclusive practice of removing barriers that prevent interaction with, or access to websites, by people with disabilities. When sites are correctly designed, developed and edited, all users have equal access to information and functionality.

 

We all know what wealth of information the internet is offering: From price comparisons and product reviews, to virtual maps and how-to instructions, to online research and e-learning – the possibilities are endless.

All that is needed is access.

And that does not just mean the access to internet, but also an accessible internet.

Both of which South Africa is currently lacking. While there is an effort to close the digital gap, awareness about web accessibility is low.

And it’s so easy!

With ready-made themes, freely available tutorials and simple to use meta data editors, all we got to do is comply with the W3C Web Accessibility guidelines which were launched back in 1997.

While this is currently only based on good will in South Africa, many countries around the world have adopted legislation to ensure the internet is inclusive. In fact, there are numerous cases where companies have been successfully sued because their website was not accessible.

In 2000, an Australian blind man won a court case against the Sydney Organizing Committee of the Olympic Games (SOCOG). This was the first successful case under Disability Discrimination Act 1992 because SOCOG had failed to make their official website, Sydney Olympic Games, adequately accessible to blind users.

In 2008 the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities came into effect. Article 9 commits signatories to provide for full accessibility to roads, buildings, and information, which includes website design.

Just recently, on 2 December 2016, the European Parliament published the first EU-wide rules to make public sector websites and apps more accessible. This is expected to be followed by a European Accessibility Act.

Time for South Africa to follow suit? 😮

 

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