Feb 16

Web Accessibility To Be Mandatory In Europe?

Tag: AccessibilityJohn Britsios @ 11:55

The European Union initiative on web accessibility is a project which has been in the works for some time now and while the goals of the EU e-inclusion campaign have not yet been met.

Things have already started to change and before long, accessibly web design will simply be a fact of life in the EU and with other nations already beginning to follow suit, it’s clear that now is the time to make sure your website is accessible.

European Accessibility Standards

Essentially, the goal of web accessibility standards set by the EU is to make the World Wide Web accessible to and usable by the largest possible number of people in the nations which make up the European Union, with these standards modeled after those of the W3C.

The idea is to ensure that the content on every website is easily available to users with slower internet connections, the visually impaired, people accessing the web on cellular phones and other mobile devices, users with older computers and web browsers, voice-activated browsers and other non-standard means of surfing the web.

Steps Webmasters Must Take

While there isn’t room here to explain all of the details of web accessibility standards, one of the most important steps that webmasters need to take is to use alt attributes for images properly in order to make this content understandable to visually impaired users and the users of text to speech and text only browsers.

The W3C’s web accessibility guidelines also emphasize the use of XHTML and CSS as opposed to Flash, something which is not conducive to accessibility.

Ensuring that your site is as accessible as possible to every user is important for reasons other than simply complying with EU standards; accessible web design is also good SEO – an incentive which should get your interest.

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