Accessibility is more than “possible to access”

When those of us who care about accessibility try to make the web sites or web applications we build accessible, we sometimes forget to think beyond making them possible to access.

Of course making sure that people with disabilities can – technically – access the information or utility we provide is much better than not doing anything. However, we should also try to think more about ease of use, or general usability.

This is discussed more in-depth in Whitney Quesenbery’s article Usable Accessibility: Making Web Sites Work Well for People with Disabilities. It’s a good article that, among other things, mentions some accessibility features that are often implemented in a way that doesn’t actually help.

So, once you have made sure that it’s technically possible to use your web interface without (for instance) being able to see images or use a mouse, also consider how usable it is. Better usability for people with disabilities almost always means better usability for everybody, which means happier users.

Posted on April 9, 2009 in Accessibility, Usability