March 1, 2012

Is your content accessible?


I discovered last year that everything on the web is not accessible to people with disabilities. In my case, I was designing a website for a wonderful client who is blind. I was using an application that was somewhat new to me. Once I had the first draft of the website all ready, I sent a link to my client for her feedback. To my dismay, she couldn't read the website! (Perhaps I should clarify that her JAWS software couldn't read the website, but the result was the same.)

At this point I should clarify that I'm not a bonified website developer - I use website builder software. This means that I had absolutely no idea how to go about making the site accessible. Logging a help ticket with the website builder folks elicited the response that their sites are accessible. Say what?

So I went back to my tried-and-true website builder software and built the website there. It was quite a relief to get the report back that the site 'worked'.

Here is where I admit that it hadn't ever occured to me to consider whether my own website is accessible. Now I'm more mindful but certainly not skilled in dealing with it. I lucked out through trial and error.

Have you considered if your website, blog and newsletter are accessible to the blind?

I found this free app called WAVE (Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool) that allows you to easily test the accessibility of a website, a file, or html code. Unless you are a real techie, you might not know how to fix problems, but at least you will know if there are problems you might consider getting fixed. Of course, there is a variety of testing software available for website developers.

Just keep in mind that there are potential clients 'viewing' your content from a whole different perspective.

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