The DDA (Disability Discrimination Act) states that service providers must not discriminate against disabled people.
A website is regarded as a service and therefore falls under this law, and as such must be made accessible to everyone
All new sites produced by Renwick Data Systems are standards compliant both in terms of HTML or XHTML and CSS and at least pass basic 508 and WAI automated accessibility tests.
There are other benefits however in choosing a web designer that provides an accessible site as a matter of course.
Here are a few:-
Your website is easier to manage
By separating style (the way the website looks) from content (the actual words and images), it is simplicity itself to make design changes.
The styles are defined in a Cascading Style Sheet (CSS) which is linked to all the content pages in the site. Therefore changing a single file makes changes to all the pages of the site.
Your website is "future-proofed"
By using standards compliant code you can be sure (or as sure as possible) that future browsers will be able to read your site and at least render it in an an acceptable fashion.
By the same token your site will also display as intended in different makes of browser (Firefox is now used by around 25% of all web users) as well as PDAs, mobile phones, WebTV and in-car browsers.
Your website is search engine friendly
To Search Engines, items like images, scripts, Flash, audio and video files are unrecognisable. By writing standards compliant code, all parts of your site are provided with text alternatives to these and can therefore be indexed and understood by the Search Engines.
Because the meaning of your site is clear, the higher and more precisely your site will be placed in the rankings.
You'll avoid legal action
The RNIB (Royal National Institute for the Blind) and the DRC (Disability Rights Commission) have been exerting pressure on companies and the government to make their websites accessible. Indeed, the DRC has warned firms that they'll face legal action and the threat of unlimited compensation payments if they fail to make their websites accessible to people with disabilities.
Your site loads faster
Accessible websites generally download quicker than websites with poor accessibility. Despite the growth of broadband you can be sure that if your website takes much longer than ten seconds to download then many of your site visitors will be clicking away and you'll lose their custom.
Users can navigate your site better
There is a certain amount of overlap between web accessibility and web usability.
By way of demonstration...
Each of the main areas of this web site have an AccessKey assigned to them. This means that in modern browsers you can use the keyboard to jump to any main area from anywhere else in the site.
AccessKeys work slightly differently on Macs and PCs. Below is a list of the main areas of the site, and the keyboard commands that will jump to them.
|Home||Alt + h > rtn||Ctrl + h|
|About Us||Alt + a > rtn||Ctrl + a|
|Contact Us||Alt + f > rtn||Ctrl + f|
|Client Area||Alt + c > rtn||Ctrl + c|
"alt + N > rtn" means that you must hold the alt key and the N key at the same time, then press the Return key. You will need to press Return in Internet Explorer but in more standards compliant browsers eg. Firefox this is not needed.
"ctrl + N" means that you must hold the ctrl key and the N key at the same time.
You are ahead of the competition
Make your website accessible to everyone and you can tell the world about it and be proud of it