Editors Draft: $Date: 2009/08/17 12:38:04 $
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[Draft $Date: 2009/08/17 12:38:04 $ latest version. analysis & changelog]


The power of the Web is in its universality. Access by everyone regardless of disability is an essential aspect.
—Tim Berners-Lee, W3C Director and inventor of the World Wide Web

Web accessibility means that people with disabilities can use the Web. More specifically, it means that people with disabilities can perceive, understand, navigate, and interact with the Web, and that they can contribute to it. Web accessibility benefits other users as well, including older people with changing abilities due to ageing and people using mobile devices. Accessibility also benefits websites developers and owners. That's why the W3C develops standards for web accessibility through the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI). Learn more below about:

Examples of Web Accessibility

Millions of people have disabilities that affect their use of the Web. Currently most Web sites and Web software have accessibility barriers that make it difficult or impossible for many people with disabilities to use the Web. As more accessible Web sites and software become available, people with disabilities are able to use and contribute to the Web more effectively.

Web accessibility ensures that people with auditory, cognitive, neurological, physical, speech, and visual disabilities can use [your website | the Web]. Here are just a few examples of how designers and developers make their websites accessible:

[alt - screen readers. should do alt, even though it's trite to some, it is one of the more important ones, and easiest for people to understand.]


[transcripts/captions. a concern with putting this one here is that most people think it is hard and expensive. it's not hard to provide a transcript for a podcast (but is can be to provide captions for video]

How People with Disabilities Use the Web describes how different disabilities affect Web use and includes scenarios of people with different disabilities using the Web.

Make Your Website Accessible

It is essential that the Web be accessible in order to provide equal access and equal opportunity to people with disabilities. Indeed, the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2006) recognizes Web accessibility as a basic human right.

While accessibility focuses on people with disabilities, it also benefits older users, mobile phone users, and other individuals, as well as organizations. Older users with age-related accessibility needs are an increasingly important customer base for most organizations, as the percentage of older users is increasing significantly. Organizations with accessible websites benefit from search engine optimization (SEO), reduced legal risk, demonstration of corporate social responsibility (CSR), and increased customer loyalty. Organizations can realize substantial return on investment (ROI) that offset any costs of implementing Web accessibility. Developing a Web Accessibility Business Case for Your Organization describes many different benefits of Web accessibility.

[many things you do for accessibility are quite easy. some things are more challenging]

Learn More

WAI provides a wide range of resources on web accessibility, including:

Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) at W3C

The Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) is a W3C Activity. WAI works with organizations around the world to develop strategies, guidelines, and resources to help make the Web accessible to people with disabilities. @@

Current Status of Specifications

Learn more about the current status of specifications related to:

These W3C Groups are working on the related specifications: