Thanks to the University of Massachusetts Lowell Library for allowing us to reuse and edit their Content Accessibility Guide for UHD students and staff!
Accessibility refers to something being easy to use, obtain, be understood, reached, or entered (merriam-webster). When we use the word accessibility, we are referring to something being user friendly. The UHD Library wants all users to have a comfortable and pleasant experience using any resource available to them. Overlooked populations such as older non-traditional students and students with disabilities should be able to have an easy and pleasant time using resources too and that’s what accessibility is all about. In order to cater to all populations, there are certain guidelines you should keep in mind.
"The Web is fundamentally designed to work for all people, whatever their hardware, software, language, location, or ability. When the Web meets this goal, it is accessible to people with a diverse range of hearing, movement, sight, and cognitive ability. Thus the impact of disability is radically changed on the Web because the Web removes barriers to communication and interaction that many people face in the physical world. However, when web sites, applications, technologies, or tools are badly designed, they can create barriers that exclude people from using the Web." - www.w3.org
Accessible sites present information through multiple sensory channels, such as sound and sight, and they allow for additional means of site navigation and interactivity beyond the typical point-and-click-interface: keyboard-based control and voice-based navigation. The combination of a multi sensory approach and a multi-interactivity approach allows disabled users to access the same information as nondisabled users. (usability.gov)
The following is a printable "cheat sheet" to help you stay on track when creating accessible documents:
Resources to evaluate the accessibility of a website:
If you need any how-to's, quick tips, or myth busters on accessibility, check out the A11Y Project:
And finally, a reference on how to meet Web Content Accessibility Guidelines: