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Web accessibility aims at enabling all users to have equal access to information and functionalities on the web. More specifically, Web accessibility means that people with all abilities and disabilities can perceive, understand, navigate, and interact with the Web.
According to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities that has been signed by the European Union, persons with disabilities include those who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which in interaction with various barriers may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others.
Internet users can experience problems when using the web because of different kinds of disabilities, functional limitations, environmental factors or technology matters:
- Persons with disabilities: visual, auditory, physical, cognitive;
- Older persons, low literacy, others;
- Technology-related limitations or incompatibility: browsers, platforms, devices, mobile web;
- Environmental factors: place, illumination, noise, slow connection.
Persons with disability in Europe are a significant group:
- 10% to 15% of the total population,
- 50 to 75 million people in EU27,
- There is a strong correlation between disability and ageing => numbers increase with demographic change.
Source: Labour Force Survey (European Commission-Eurostat, 2002)
Why Web Accessibility is important
The Web is an increasingly important resource in many aspects of life: education, employment, government, commerce, health care, recreation, access to information and more. It is essential that the Web is accessible in order to provide equal access and equal opportunity to persons with disabilities. An accessible Web can also help people with disabilities more actively participate in society.
FCH JU is committed to make its website as accessible as possible to the largest possible number of users including those with visual, auditory, cognitive or physical disabilities, and those not having the latest technologies. Therefore thisweb site takes into account modern usability best practices, in accordance with the latest studies on user behaviour like the Information Providers Guide of the European Commission (http://ec.europa.eu/ipg/ (external link)) and complies with the standards for accessible web design.
The standard followed for Web accessibility of FCH JU Web site is the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0 (external link) (WCAG), level A (priority 1).
In addition to making information easier to access and thereby increasing the site’s potential customer/client base, benefits of Accessible Web design include:
- Improved usability for all visitors. Consistent navigation makes it easier to find desired content quickly.
- Clear navigation and clear and simple content supports people with and "without" disabilities: older, low literacy levels, low bandwith, etc.
- Providing equivalent alternatives to auditory and visual content (e.g., ALT attributes and captioning), table summaries, structured markup and metadata improves search engine optimisation SEO.
- Do not rely on color alone (all information conveyed with color is also available without color, for example from context or markup.)