Can persons with visual impairment surf freely on your websites? Making websites accessible is important. Yet, some website designers are not aware of the importance of making web accessible to persons with a disability.
Thanks to assistive software or tools, persons with visual impairment can read the content of websites. For example, persons with low vision can use screen magnifiers to read websites. Persons with blindness can read the content of websites by using screen readers that convert textual information on a website to synthesized speech or Braille.
INACCESSIBILITY COULD BE AN UNLAWFUL ACT
If a website is inaccessible to persons with a disability especially persons with visual impairment, it could be a kind of disability discrimination as it deprives their right of access to information. Under the Disability Discrimination Ordinance, this could be a kind of unlawful act.
ACCESSIBILITY BENEFITS ALL
Making accessible websites can benefit persons with a disability as well as the website owners. This is because for private companies, higher accessibility means more potential customers and hence, more profits. For public bodies, making accessible websites can help to build corporate image and avoid complaints. For private users, it at least could allow more people to visit their websites.
HOW TO MAKE WEBSITES ACCESSIBLE?
Making websites accessible is not difficult. It does not require additional software or equipment. Here are seven tips for making websites accessible:
- Add alt-text to graphics
Persons with blindness cannot read graphics even with the aid of screen readers. To solve this problem, it is unnecessary to remove all graphics from the websites. Adding alt-text to graphics is a simple and effective solution.
- Avoid using Flash animation as front page
Screen readers cannot read Flash animation. In fact, avoid using Flash animation as the front page is a good practice in web design. Readers usually treasure efficiency more than beauty. For repeated visitors, it would be annoying if they have to go through a 15-second Flash animation front page every time they visit the website.
- Avoid using different languages on the same page
Some screen readers may not be able to read Chinese/English at the same time. Avoid using different languages in the same webpage and allow readers to switch between languages.
- Use sharp colour contrast
Persons with colour-blindness may not be able to distinguish weak colour contrast. Use sharp colour contrast for content and background.
- Use simple tables
Screen readers may not be able to read complicated tables. Try to use several simple tables to substitute for a complicated table. Alternatively, use text to present the content of the table.
- Consistent page layout
The layout of each webpage should be consistent so that the users can locate the navigation links on each page at similar positions. Having consistent page layout not only benefits persons with disability, it also helps all other users to access the site more efficiently.
- Avoid using pop-up windows
Pop-up windows cause persons with visual impairment to lose direction and navigated position. Where a pop-up window must be used, provide text description of "Top of the page" and "Close" to tell persons with visual impairment that it is a new window and there is an exit.
TEST FOR ACCESSIBILITY
You may test your website's accessibility by using the five testing techniques available at https://www.ogcio.gov.hk/en/our_work/community/web_mobileapp_accessibility/promulgating_resources/handbook/five_test_techniques/
Enquiries can be directed to the Equal Opportunity Unit,
Tel: 3917 5115
Enquiries relating to equal opportunity issues including sexual harassment are welcome as well.