Third Sun is offering an Accessibility Tune-up package for our current clients where we perform a website audit to determine needed accessibility refinements, install an accessibility plugin, and provide next-step recommendations for maintaining a user-friendly site. Contact us for more info, but in the meantime, read ahead to know why this matters.
What does "web accessibility" mean?
Web accessibility is an important issue that is often overlooked. It refers to the ability of all people, regardless of ability or disability, to access and use the internet. This includes the ability to access websites, applications, videos, and other digital content.
Why is it important?
Digital equity for all
The primary importance of web accessibility is that it provides equal access to everyone. It ensures that people with disabilities have the same opportunities as those without. Web accessibility also benefits people without disabilities, as it makes the internet more user-friendly. It allows users to access digital content without any difficulty, regardless of the type of device they are using.
For example, people who are blind or have low vision can access digital content with a screen reader. This software reads the text on the screen and allows people to navigate websites and apps without the need for sight. Similarly, people who are deaf or hard of hearing can access video and audio content with captions or transcripts. This enables them to understand the content without having to rely on sound.
Better user experience for all
Web accessibility also provides a better overall user experience. When websites are accessible, they are easier to navigate and use. This makes it easier for everyone to find what they are looking for and to complete tasks quickly.
For businesses, web accessibility is important because it allows them to reach a wider audience. People with disabilities often have difficulty accessing digital content, which can lead to them being excluded from businesses’ products and services. By making their content more accessible, businesses can ensure that everyone has equal access to their products and services. This can lead to increased engagement, more conversions, and higher profits.
Web accessibility is also important for government agencies, as it allows them to provide citizens with equal access to digital services. This can include things like accessing government forms, filing taxes, and applying for benefits. By providing an accessible user experience, government agencies can ensure that citizens are able to become informed and participate in their communities.
How does Third Sun approach this?
For accessibility considerations, Third Sun takes an "accessibility-first" approach as we design the mock-up testing different elements like contrast, font sizing, readability, links, etc. When we implement the template in the CMS, we go through more testing in the browser environment to check to ensure other HTML specific elements are correct like alt-tags.
There are a few layers to accessibility, and in our minds, it's not just these technical things. There are of course ways that a website communicates to its audience and the imagery that it uses that impacts accessibility in important ways. In addition, to have a really good accessible website, content needs to be well-written for the audience and well-formatted. After the site goes live, this usually falls to our clients when they start to managing through the CMS. Joomla now has a backend accessibility feature that allows the content creator to do an accessibility check on their article before they publish it (one of the nice new features in Joomla 4).