Web users have different experiences online which may range from the way a user perceives content on a web page, navigation of the content posted online and the understanding & ultimately the engagement and interaction with the content which includes images, audio, video content, text content etc.
The different experiences may stem from several factors such as a user’s knowledge of the internet, the device that a user is using to access a web page and the most common hindrance could be the physical capability of the users such as users with visual impairments, auditory & speech disabilities or cognitive & neurological impairments.
Therefore when creating a website or adding content to a web page, it’s vital that you consider making the content accessible to such disadvantaged users by removing any accessibility barrier which might prevent them from accessing the content.
This means that the website should be designed in a manner that it’s flexible enough to meet and satisfy the needs of different categories of users. This in turn creates more user engagement and interactions as well as providing equal opportunity and access to all users.
This website was initially established in late 2005 and through to early 2009 it had useful content and discussion about web design, web standards and web accessibility.
This site is still about web accessibility and standards, because it is a pertinent topic today with globalization and the increased use of mobile devices and web applications by millions of people.
Click on any category below and have a look at it.
The Internet always fascinated me and it continues to do the same till this very day. All the way back in the late 90’s, I was certain that the Internet was the domain where I wanted to build my career. Ever since I first witnessed its power in my first high school year, I was not only impressed by it, it could be said that I was truly mesmerized.
When I finished college in 2003 as a graphic design student, the world of the Internet had covered the entire planet and everyone who was anyone wanted to have their own website. Back then, Web 2.0 was only in its beginning phases, meaning that plain HTML and static web pages were all that people wanted or needed. In this climate, my design abilities were ideally suited for a web designer.
In a matter of months, I learned all the necessary programming elements, including setting up hosting protocols and building the essential face of the website. In today’s terms, I knew all that was necessary for the process of creating website, working on both the front end and the back end side of any web presentation. The content I covered was diverse as were my clients, so I helped out anyone from small personal presentations, local businesses like nutritionists who dealt with weight loss and all the way to serious websites for medium and large companies, including a few international ones.
But, there was a private matter which provided me with the next step in my career in the process of creating website content. My girlfriend back then, her brother was visually impaired and he really struggled with any Internet content, even though he was an avid reader and always craved more information. In 2004, I decided that something should be done for him and all those who have problems with their visual senses but still desire to surf the net.
I always knew that in theory at least, all content on a website should be designed and placed in a manner that provides for the needs of all of its users, including those who have some form of sensory disability, but also neurological and cognitive impairments. But, as I began researching this issue more in-depth, I realized that many websites at that time did not have any accessibility features. That is why I began to develop them full-time and invest a lot of effort into finding ways how this accessibility can be elevated.
Fortunately, I had some help along the way, especially in the beginning months, when I wondered am I actually destroying my old career. My girlfriend at that time was working for a breast cancer awareness NGO, so she got me connected with people who were active advocates for the rights of the visually impaired.
The same breast cancer awareness organization also provided me with a voice in the NGO community, so I was able to receive limited funding to help me start my projects. Even back then, I could be said that my loving girlfriend was determined to see me succeed. A lot of times, she believed more in me than I believed in myself.
With the funding resolved, I began to examine the barrier which divides people with issues that make using the regular web pages difficult from those who do not have these issues. When I pinpointed this barrier, I began to create ways how it could be resolved or excluded from the equation. These solutions included online readers for the visually impaired, but also modifiers for the font size and background color that could help those who have other eyesight issues.
As I refined both of these, I began working on websites that could automatically decrease the amount of text and available options, which were both helpful for people who experienced reading or cognitive issues. As the months passed by, I learned to make websites that are a lot higher on the accessibility scale than any regular one. Of course, the word spread that I was working on these projects and this led to a bit of publicity for my endeavors.
This in turn attracted more and more people, some of whom volunteered to provide me with help in many different ways. Here, I learned that anyone who desires to do something good will always receive a helping hand from those who wish to do the same.
Now, thanks to many individuals, organizations, and companies, websites are a lot more accessible than just a few years ago. Today, my wife’s brother can easily surf the Internet and enjoy its content completely freely, which is a huge step forward when it comes to accessibility for all those who need it the most.