Get to know what all the accessibility fuss is about
Why is Web Accessibility important?
“When creating accessible websites and documents to everyone, we provide equal access and equal opportunity to people with disabilities. Not only is this a great idea to think accessibility into your information flow in general, but it is also by law in many countries or obliged from the EU directive from October 2016 stating that websites and mobile applications of public sector bodies must follow the standards or WCAG 2.0. One of the requirements is that everyone must be able to access files and have them read aloud using assistive technology such as a screen reader.”
What are the effects of having accessible documents?
“When we talk about accessibility, we define it as the ability for everyone to access something, regardless of condition. Anywhere we go, we need to build supporting systems to make sure everyone can have access, for example when people in wheelchairs need to go on public transportation or inside a store where there are stairs, we build a ramp. Or if blind pedestrians need to use the crosswalk, we build sound systems to let them know when the light is green.
The same goes for people with impairment who uses the internet. That being people with a lowered vision, blind, dyslexic, cognitive challenged, color-blind, and so on. We must ensure accessibility of websites and documents uploaded to the company website. Anyone who access your website should be able to read and understand your content without having to get help from anyone else other than maybe assistive technology.”
Okay, sure sounds important. But what value does it bring to a business?
“When you implement Web Accessibility to your website and documents, you also get more structured content which means you also gain benefits towards other “Best Practices” such as responsive web design, usability and Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Thereby you have the option to better target new business areas. As a business you need enhance you brand. With structured and accessible content, you are able to interact – and do business – with people who cannot read print material or having a hard time to read, or understanding, content that is not accessible. A clear commitment to accessibility also underlines your business take on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
If you understand – and act on – the diverse needs of your customers and make a commitment to sustainable, inclusive marketing and employment practices, you can potentially include an enhanced brand image and reputation, increased sales and customer loyalty, improved workforce diversity and so on.”
Cool! Any final comments?
“Only that it is a “win-win”-situation to include accessibility to your content and marketing strategies. In Omnidocs we have developed a solution Accessibility Assistant that allows Microsoft Office users to easily create PDF/UA-compliant files in Word and PowerPoint. This imposes several requirements to documents, and for many companies the process of publishing PDF files on the website becomes more resource intensive as “Export to PDF” or “Save as PDF” does not magically convert the file into an accessible PDF/UA (Universal Accessible) file.”
We hope that this Q&A with Jesper Egon Jensen made your mind just a little more acute when dealing with accessibility. Thank you Jesper for sharing your knowledge and making our workday work better. If you have questions or comments, feel free to reach out.