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The web belongs to everyone.

And by everyone we mean every person who has the desire and the need to surf online for work, curiosity or simple enjoyment.

What is accessibility?

When one thinks of accessibility, the first images that come to mind are often those of architectural barriers and construction methods to overcome them. We think for example of ramps to overcome steps, or indoor stair lifts. These devices are designed to allow people with physical disabilities to move more easily inside buildings.

But accessibility is not only about physical buildings, it is also about the digital world. In this sense, web accessibility is a key issue to ensure that all users, regardless of their abilities, can access and use the content and functionality of a website. As with physical buildings, there are methodologies and standards for the web to ensure accessibility.

Just as technology can make a house more accessible, (e.g. smart devices connected to the internet allow lights and appliances to be switched on/off effortlessly) in the same way, technology can be used to make the web more accessible, e.g. through the use of voice reading software to make content accessible to the visually impaired, or through the use of text descriptions for images to make content accessible to the deaf.

In both cases, accessibility is crucial to ensure that everyone has equal opportunities for participation and inclusion, both in real life and in digital life.

Quartiere San Donato - Rampa
Servoscala a piattaforma per disabili
Smarthome
Can I also transport the concept of accessibility to the web?

Absolutely!

Just as with infrastructure, websites can also be unreadable and not navigable by users with disabilities.

Accessible websites

So how can I solve it?

Guidelines on how to make a website accessible have already existed for years. They are called WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) and are published by the Web Accessible Initiative, a structure that is part of the W3C (World Wide Web Consortium: the non-governmental association that aims to 'guide' the development of the web and the Internet worldwide).

Although version 3 of these guidelines is under active development, to date the guidelines of version 2.1 are taken as a reference; you can consult them in detail at this link.

Ausili per la navigazione accessibile del sito web

"The power of the Web is in its universality.
Access by everyone regardless of disability is an essential aspect."

Tim Berners-Lee
Turing Prize 2016, co-inventor with Robert Cailliau of the World Wide Web

How to build an accessible website

In practice, what needs to be done?

The WCAG guidelines are an excellent starting point: here are outlined all the focal points on which to base one's design and the priorities to be taken into account when implementing the website. It is good to start designing a site with the concept of accessibility in mind from the outset, for two reasons:

  • It is much more difficult to make a 'standard' site accessible than to build an accessible site from scratch.
  • Accessibility is a concept that does not only concern the technical aspect: the type, quantity and readability of texts (and the choice of images) is fundamental to making a website user-friendly.

Più un particolare un sito web accessibile deve essere:

Perceivable

Information and user interface components must be presented to users in ways in which they can perceive them: images must have alternative text, texts must be able to be read automatically, colours must be clearly distinguishable and texts must have high contrast, etc.

Usable

The components and navigation of the user interface must also be usable in unconventional ways, such as point-and-click with the mouse.
Sites must therefore be navigable from the keyboard, must not have timed content (e.g. pop-ups that close after X seconds), must be navigable in blocks, and the user's focus must be clearly visible

Comprehensible

The text must be effortlessly readable and comprehensible by the user: the sequence of texts must be predictable and manageable via keyboard focus, form entry must be facilitated and input must be checked and corrected as far as possible without page reloading.

How much does it cost to make an accessible website?

Now that the concept is clear, let's get down to business

Am I obliged to have an accessible website?

The answer of course is no, there is no law that obliges a private individual to have an accessible website (unless you are above the €500 million annual turnover threshold). Only Public Administration websites must be accessible by law.
It is obvious, however, that an accessible site can be consulted by a larger number of users (much larger than one would think) who, of course, are potential customers like everyone else.

Is it easy to create an accessible site?

'Easy' is a very relative concept. In general, the answer is no, because following all the guidelines to the letter entails fairly stringent technical, stylistic and content choices.

The sites we create at Pixed are natively accessible for a good 80% of the WCAG guidelines (except for those obviously made for PA).

This allows us to achieve excellent graphic and content results while maintaining a high degree of accessibility, and therefore usability by all users.

Can I make my old website accessible?

In principle, the answer is yes. Any website is customisable enough to make it accessible. There are, however, some special cases that need to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis (e.g. if it is an e-commerce, or there are very special graphic elements, or the construction technology is particularly old).

Send a message from our contact page asking about this: we will arrange a consultation and see what can be done.

Request a quote for an accessible website

Do you want to make your site accessible?

If you are an individual, a non-profit organisation or a public body, contact us for a free consultation: we will assess your site and decide on the best strategy to make it accessible (or as accessible as possible)