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definition of web accessibility

From: Shawn Lawton Henry <shawn@uiaccess.com>
Date: Fri, 17 Jan 2003 09:14:11 -0600
To: "'EOWG'" <w3c-wai-eo@w3.org>
Message-ID: <000001c2be3b$17661870$b862bc42@SLHenry>

more food for thought:

From "Understanding Web Accessibility" chapter in Constructing
Accessible Web Sites book * 

At the most basic level, web accessibility is about people being able to
get and use web content. It is about designing web pages that people can
present and interact with according to their needs and preferences. A
primary focus of accessibility is access by people with disabilities.
The larger scope of accessibility includes benefits to people without
disabilities. While accessibility is presented here in its relationship
to usability, it is important to remember that the fundamental point is
the ability to access web content. What is nice to have for some people
is required by other people for them to be able to access web sites at

...Accessibility is more concerned with making web sites perceivable,
operable, and understandable....


Accessibility can be defined as the quality of a web site that makes it
possible for people to use it - to find it navigable and understandable
- even when they are working under limiting conditions or constraints.

< Accessibility is about designing so that more people can use your web
site effectively in more situations. >

Although most people consider accessibility in terms of disability, that
is not the whole picture. A more broad definition of accessibility
covers people operating under situational limitations as well as
functional limitations:

- Functional limitations pertain to disabilities, such as blindness or
limited use of the hands. Functional limitations can be visual,
auditory, physical, or cognitive (which includes language and learning

- Situational limitations relate to the prevailing circumstances,
environment, or device. These limitations can affect anybody, not just
people with disabilities. Examples include mobile devices and device
limitations, such as having no mouse, or constraining circumstances,
such as interacting with a web site through a computer integrated into a
car's dashboard, where use of the hands and eyes is limited. 

Most of the legal requirements for accessibility are concerned with
meeting the needs of people with functional limitations, or
disabilities. Understanding the benefits of accessibility to people who
are operating with situational limitations, clarifies some of the
benefits to people without disabilities and the related business
benefits of accessibility.


*(available in PDF on-line
pdf. Please don't pick on me about PDF! That was macromedia's decision.
It is also available in reasonably-accessible HTML from the publisher,
by sending in the book's registration card marked "CD". Please don't
pick on me about that process! The book authors have complain
incessantly about it. Feel free to share your disapproval with the
publisher if you so choose.)
Received on Friday, 17 January 2003 10:14:26 UTC

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