There are many ways to interact with content on the web. Some people interact on a computer using a touchpad or a mouse, others use smartphones or tablets by tapping and swiping, and some use assistive technologies. For example, those who are visually impaired use screen readers or screen magnification software, and visitors who are mobility-challenged might use only a keyboard to navigate your site.
Accessible websites allows all users to gain access to the information on your site. The World Wide Web consortium (W3C) remarks, “accessibility overlaps with other best practices such as mobile web design, device independence, multi-modal interaction, usability, design for older users, and search engine optimization (SEO). Case studies show that accessible websites have better search results, reduced maintenance costs, and increased audience reach, among other benefits.”
Publishing accessible content also has other benefits:
Using semantic HTML markup will make your content more discoverable by search engines.
Using a distraction-free design will benefit visitors with learning disabilities.
Accessible content is more standards compliant, making it more likely to be compatible with the connected devices of the future.
Accessible content does not only benefit those who have physical disabilities; for instance, video captioning is used widely by students where English is a second language.
Web Accessibility is the Law
Web accessibility is also the law, with Section 508 as the governing principle and WCAG 2.0 A/AA as the international guidelines that are considered best practices for accessible technology. The JumboPress responsive framework is compliant with both Section 508 and WCAG 2.0 A/AA.
Web Accessibility in JumboPress
Digital Services strives to make JumboPress a fully accessible platform for those who visit your site. It is up to you, the content owners, to help us pair an accessible platform with accessible content.
JumboPress base theme uses semantic markup out of the box. The preset color palettes provide good contrast. The design is navigable for keyboard-only users. And the use of HTML 5 tags like article,header, and footer, will be embraced by visitors using assistive technologies.
Ways to Make Content Accessible
Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0
Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 covers a wide range of recommendations for making Web content more accessible. Following these guidelines will make content accessible to a wider range of people with disabilities, including blindness and low vision, deafness and hearing loss, learning disabilities, cognitive limitations, limited movement, speech disabilities, photosensitivity and combinations of these. Following these guidelines will also often make your Web content more usable to users in general.
The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines are organized around the following four principles, which lay the foundation for anyone to access and use web content. Anyone who wants to use the web should have content that is:
Principle 1: Perceivable — Information and user interface components should be presentable to users in ways they can perceive.
Principle 4: Robust — Content must be robust enough that it can be interpreted reliably by a wide variety of user agents, including assistive technologies.
Maximize compatibility with current and future user tools, including assistive technologies.
All images should have alternative text (alt text). It is descriptive information about the image, according to an WebAIM alternative text article it should “present the CONTENT and FUNCTION of the image”. This content is what a screen reader reads when it encounters an image and it is also used by search engines as they crawl through the internet.