What are the four major principles of accessibility?

Posted by D2i Team on August 27, 2022

Disability-related issues that are present in the U.S. are plentiful and diverse. They are so numerous, in fact according to the CDC that one in four people has disabilities. Americans with Disabilities Act, or the ADA for short, was put into effect in July 1990. The ADA stipulates in its third section that accommodations that are accessible to the general public, along with commercial facilities should make their facilities accessible to persons who are disabled. Additionally due to advancements in communication and technology it is applicable to websites too. This has given way to web-based services such as ADA compliance experts that aid businesses and other public organizations assist their disabled clients and customers.

In 1990, the web and social media weren’t as commonplace for companies as they are today however, the Department of Justice still sees that accessibility remains an important requirement for both businesses and other public entities to be considered ADA conforming. In this regard, the World Wide Web Consortium has issued guidelines to assist companies and service providers such as ADA compliance professionals by providing the necessary information. Its Web Content Accessibility Guideline 2.1 (WCAG 2.1) is being viewed as the standard worldwide for accessibility testing on the internet. The WCAG 2.1 version was published on June 5th, 2018. There is currently a draft of the WCAG 2.2 Version.

The WCAG is guided by what is now to be called the P.O.U.R. Principles. The four principles that are considered perceivable are understandable, Operable, and sturdy. There are four criteria that have to be checked for ADA conforming according to the WCAG. This is a brief overview of these concepts.

  • Perceivable for those who have hearing and visual impairments it is extremely sensitive. This makes sure that the text is easy to read, by adhering to a certain range of colors, sizes, or contrasts. This also ensures the closed captioning feature is accessible for all videos on the web pages. Also, alt text needs to be available for all photos.
  • Operable navigation on a website should be accessible for people with disabilities. Physically disabled people do not use computers in standard ways or might use devices that are specifically designed for them. This means there should be alternate ways of navigating websites, such as key commands rather than the typical scrolling and clicking.
  • Understandable web pages which are not understood even if it is perceivable are not WCAG conforming. That means that even if it is properly formatted but if the content cannot be comprehended and understood, it is not in compliance with the guidelines for accessibility.
  • Robust Having a robust website is essentially being more efficient, rather than working hard. It is a requirement to have the ability to anticipate and be able to serve customers or clients who access your website via different devices or methods. Businesses and developers need to be aware that their pages should always be able to accommodate regardless of the assistive technology and screen readers utilized to browse the content.

The WCAG can be intimidating to many, but by having an interest and understanding these four guiding principles you will be able to aid your less able customers. If you need any assistance regarding accessibility, then D2i Technology will be the best option for you.

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