Accessibility is now a human right and EU legislation will rule that all public bodies should be accessible in the next year or two. The EU Web Accessibility Directive states all websites created after 23 September 2018 will have to be accessible by 23 September 2019. Existing websites will have to comply by 23 September 2020.
This means that your website should now be made accessible. The best way to do it is to follow the 7 principles of Universal Design. Beyond benefiting a wider array of disabled web users, the Universal Design approach provides other advantages, and can give users access to services and opportunities not available before the todays range of newer technologies.
The development of your website and online solutions should take the 7 principles for universal design into account.
The 7 Principles
- Principle 1: Equitable Use. The design is useful and marketable to people with diverse abilities.
- Principle 2: Flexibility in Use. The design accommodates a wide range of individual preferences and abilities.
- Principle 3: Simple and Intuitive Use. Use of the design is easy to understand, regardless of the user's experience, knowledge, language skills, or current concentration level.
- Principle 4: Perceptible Information. The design communicates necessary information effectively to the user, regardless of ambient conditions or the user's sensory abilities.
- Principle 5: Tolerance for Error. The design minimizes hazards and the adverse consequences of accidental or unintended actions.
- Principle 6: Low Physical Effort. The design can be used efficiently and comfortably and with a minimum of fatigue.
- Principle 7: Size and Space for Approach and Use. Appropriate size and space is provided for approach, reach, manipulation, and use regardless of user's body size, posture, or mobility.
Compliance with the above principles depends on a range of skillsets across user interface and user experience design, graphic design, along with template development and good user training. All of these are available from pTools to allow you to serve your customers online.
The NDA reports that the Census 2006 showed about 400,000 people reported a disability, or about 9% of the population. Census 2011 showed about 600,000 people reported having a disability, or about 13% of the population. There were some differences between the two censuses in how disability was measured.
In a Recent Summary the Disability Statistics were listed as:
- 52,000 people have difficulty seeing and 2,300 people are blind
- 58,000 people have difficulty hearing
- 245,000 people have a motor difficulty and 79,000 people have a difficulty with dexterity
- And 137,000 have difficulty concentrating
This is a total of 492,000 people reporting an impairment that could prevent them using your website as you would imagine.
Taking the Irish population at around 4.9 million people that is 10% of your potential users and customers.
The figures above excluded those visiting your website for the first time and for some reason not being able to find the information that they require, and those with difficulty reading, older users or simply, users finding it difficult to use your website.
Even where your website has been scanned and approved at go live, it is possible that Accessibility issues have arisen since then through the addition of content and edits that have been made since then, we recommend running a full site scan to assess WCAG compliance that will categorize the Errors, Alerts and recommendations in improving or attaining compliance.
pTools believe in Universal Design and the obvious advantages that it can give users to access services and opportunities not available before the todays range of newer technologies. We have expertise in developing Accessible websites for more than 15 years.
With the design and development of QCAG Level 2 accessible page templates taken as a matter of course in pTools, it can be easily managed through pTools System 7 CMS.
If you want to know more about Universal Design & how to enable all your users, get in touch with pTools and we can guide you through the process.