The advantages of web accessibility can be summarized in the following quote from Steven Pemberton, president of W3C forms and HTML working groups:
Your most important user is blind. Half of the visits to your site come from Google, and Google only sees what a blind person can see. If your site is not accessible, you will have fewer visits. End of the story
Google sees your site practically as a blind visitor would so there you have a good element of reflection, right? But there is more, much more …
:: Advantages of web accessibility ::
In case you are not worth these arguments there are more advantages of offering a site according to web accessibility standards :
- Increase the number of potential visitors to the website : this is a very important reason for a company that wants to attract new customers. When a web page is accessible it does not present barriers that hinder its access, regardless of the user's conditions. A web page that meets the standards is more likely to be displayed correctly on any device with any browser. According to data from the INE (1999), 9% of the population in Spain has some disability, in total 3,528,221 people.
- Reduces the costs of development and maintenance : although initially learn to make a accessible web page implies a cost (just as it costs to learn to use any new technology), once you have the knowledge, the cost of developing and maintaining an accessible web page is less than that of an inaccessible web page accessible web is a well-made page, less prone to contain errors and easier to update.
- Reduces the loading time of the web pages and the load of the web server : by separating the content of the information about the presentation of a web page through CSS reduces the size of web pages and, therefore, reduces the loading time of web pages.
- Demonstrates social responsibility . You fulfill a citizen's right to participation and non-discrimination because of disability.
- You comply with the legislative provisions in this regard, both by the Public Administration, which is obliged to do so before the public, and by private networks that aspire to participate in contracts with the Administration or public financing.
- When designing according to accessibility standards, we guarantee the equivalence of contents between different browsers and devices ;
- Better indexing in the engines of search . The fulfillment of the guidelines, both in code and in semantic contents (for example, links with sense) allows the search engines to better identify the contents, and consequently, greater possibilities of positioning in the search engines.
- Improvement the usability of the web . Although they are not equivalent, accessibility has a close relationship with the usability of a site. By meeting basic accessibility requirements in the technical elements of a website (content structure, links, color contrast, effects and movements, forms, tables, etc.), the conditions of use for most people improve.  :: Spanish legislation on web accessibility ::
And, if that were not enough motive, there is sufficient reason to take it into account based on the Spanish legislation that regulates the rights to accessibility on the web :
- Law 34/2002 of July 11, on services of the information society and electronic commerce.
- Law 51/2003 of December 2 on Equality of Opportunities, Non-Discrimination and Universal Accessibility with disability (LIONDAU).
- Royal Decree 366/2007 of March 16, on accessibility and non-discrimination of persons with disabilities in their relations with the General State Administration.
- Law 27/2007, of October 23 re, by which the Spanish sign languages are recognized and the means of support for oral communication of deaf people, hearing impaired and deafblind are regulated.
- Royal Decree 1494/2007, of November 12, by the that the Regulation on the basic conditions for the access of persons with disabilities to the information society is approved.
- Law 49/2007, of December 26, establishing the regime of infractions and sanctions in matter of equal opportunities, non-discrimination and universal accessibility for people with disabilities
:: Problems related to web accessibility ::
The main limitations that must be taken into account when making our website accessible would be the following:
- Visuals : In its different degrees, from low vision to total blindness, in addition to problems to distinguish colors (Daltonism).
- Motrice s : Difficulty or inability to use the hands, including tremors, muscle slowness, etc., due to diseases such as Parkinson's, muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, amputations, among others.
- Auditory : Deafness or auditory deficiencies
- Cognitive : Learning difficulties (dyslexia, dyscalculia, etc.) or cognitive disabilities that affect memory, attention, pas logical skills, etc.
- Old age : People with disabilities can add the group of people of the "third age", since the deficiencies and problems of the physical media, as well as many times the content, mean that these people are also at risk of infoexclusión.
Based on this, people with these difficulties may encounter a series of accessibility problems:
- Device management : Telephones, computer is, ATMs and digital television most of the time are not designed and placed, in the case of ATMs, paying attention to the needs of people with disabilities. The variety of terminals is very large, what you should look for is to follow the tendency to reduce them and access all the services through a few. More and more websites are visited with all kinds of devices
- Interaction with interfaces : Menus, navigation bars and buttons are not usually accessible from a variety of adapted terminals.
- Access to content : The contents that are accessed from the same device are increasing and this rapid growth does not usually address the specific needs of the disability.
:: Levels of priority and compliance with web accessibility ::
Web accessibility is divided into a spectrum of three priority levels :
- Priority 1: are those points that a Web developer has to meet since , otherwise, certain user groups could not access to the website information.
- Priority 2: are those points that a Web developer should comply with, otherwise, , be very difficult to access information for certain groups of users.
- Priority 3: are those points that a Web developer should comply with because, otherwise, some users would experience certain difficulties in accessing information .
Based on these verification points, the levels of compliance are established:
- Level of Conformance "A": all points Priority 1 verification is satisfied.
- "Double A" Level of Conformity: all priority check points 1 and 2 are satisfied.
- "Triple A" Compliance Level: all the checkpoints of priority 1,2 and 3 are satisfied.
:: Basic rules of web accessibility ::
To create an accessible web it is necessaryand its control points but there are some some basic rules, which summarize them in the following:
- Follow the W3C standards . Currently the two standard languages for the creation of websites are HTML 4.01 and XHTML 1.0. Fulfilling any of the two standards facilitates accessibility.
- All images must have an alternative text (alt attribute) that will be displayed by browsers that do not show images (screen readers, computers with a slow connection, text browsers). This attribute must contain the description of the image (not the name) unless this description is purely decorative.
- The links must have a significant name of the place they are pointing to. This text must be comprehensible outside its context and, therefore, it does not serve the much used "click here."
- To organize the information within the webpage you must use the h1, h2 …, ] with them we must organize both the content and the format of the titles.
- The use of tables for layout should be avoided, unless they are essential. If they are used, make sure that the content can be read in a linear manner and ensure that the different cells do not have excessive content.
- Whenever possible, style sheets (CSS) should be used to separate the content of the presentation and should be syntactically correct.
- In case of adding multimedia content (sound, animations and / or video) subtitles (for sound) must be provided ] or description of animations and videos.
- If using frames a label
must be used that incorporates the necessary links for navigation. Each frame should be perfectly identified
- If scripts, applets or plugins not accessible are used, alternative content should be offered.
- If used Images with long or complex information should be properly described. For this, the longdesc attribute can be used
- If image maps are used, it is convenient to provide redundant links in text format for each active zone of the map.
- They should be used easy-to-read letter typologies .
In this video, we review some standards and the importance of web accessibility:
Now how do we accomplish all this if we use WordPress? …
:: Word Accessibility in WordPress ::
WordPress offers a special page on web accessibility that offers us tips and tools to make our WordPress accessible. There is also a summary of practices from accessibility in CODEX . However, although much better than the rickety reference page in WordPress.com they are not the best sources of knowledge about it, so I recommend that you review all the other points discussed in this article, and especially the references at the end of it.
The first thing to keep in mind is that WordPress is not different from any other web so the guidelines and rules to follow are exactly the same. same as we have already seen . However we can take some shortcut that will save us work:
- Uses an accessible WordPress theme . Although there are not many, in the official repository there are some issues, specifically eight, that comply with the tag " accessibility-ready ". One of them is the default WordPress theme, TwentyFourteen. Also there is a child theme of the TwentyTen theme that complies with the accessibility standards.
- Use accessible plugins . Always use some accessible version of the plugins you use, in addition to those that help you meet the accessibility guidelines:
- Search plugins that comply with the WAI-ARIA standard . It's not all we need to meet but it's a good start. Do not search for " accessibility " or " accessible " because what you find is a broken sack where you'll see access control plugins, user permissions and a little bit of everything.
- WP Accessibility . It's a good start because it identifies and solves common accessibility errors (some fixes them automatically) as incorrect link attributes (which I'm very much guilty of) and adaptations of standard WordPress tags to accessibility guidelines. Highly recommended .
- WP Accessible . Despite its name, today it does not even look like the previous one because it only offers an accessible Twitter timeline widget, the rest is yet to come, but for one thing it starts.
- Contact Form 7 : Accessible defaults : Convert the Contact Form 7 plugin forms to accessible in all their fields.
- SOGO Accessibility : Add several settings to adapt WordPress to users with accessibility problems, such as contrast , sizes, etc.
- BotDetect Captcha is a plugin that offers a system of control of undesirable users but complying with the accessibility norms, so as not to make undesirable users who are not, only for their disability.
- YouTube Shortcode . A short code version (or shortcode ) to insert YouTube videos on your site but in an accessible way.
- Accessible tag cloud . An accessible alternative to the WordPress tag cloud widget.
- Accessibility widget . Add to your sidebar a widget from which to increase or decrease the font size of your site, very useful for users with eyesight and other problems.
- Zoom widget . Like the previous one, add a widget to increase the size of your website's elements.
- Accessible_blank . Open the links in another window or tab but complying with the accessibility standards. Great plugin, although not updated long ago, of our friend Cristina Eslava.
- Accessible external links . Similar to the previous one, it offers a way to apply the link destination but in an accessible way.
Manrique López did a good summary in this presentation that exposed the past WPDay Madrid :
:: How to check the accessibility of your website ::
There are a series of practices you can carry out to check the accessibility of your website:
- Use an automatic accessibility tool and a browser validation tool. Please, check that the software of the tools deals with all accessibility problems, such as the meaning of the text of the link, the applicability of a textual equivalent, etc. Following this list you have a couple of good free online tools.
- Validate syntax (For example, HTML, XML, etc.).
- Validate style sheets (For example, CSS)
- Uses a text-only browser or an emulator.
- Uses various graphics browsers with:
- Sounds and graphics loaded.
- Graphics not uploaded.
- Sounds not loaded.
- Without mouse.
- Frames, scripts, style sheets and applets not loaded.
- Uses several browsers old and new.
- Uses a browser by voice, a screen reader, a magnification software, a small visualizer, etc.
- Uses spelling and grammar verifiers . Anyone who reads the page with a speech synthesizer may not be able to decipher what the synthesizer plays because of a misspelling. Eliminating grammatical problems increases comprehension.
- Check your website for clarity and simplicity . Readability statistics, such as those generated by some word processors, can be useful indicators of clarity and simplicity. Better yet, ask an experienced (human) editor to review the clarity of the written text. Editors can also increase the usefulness of a text by identifying potential intercultural problems that may arise because of the language or icons used.
- Invites people with disabilities to check the web . Skilled and novice disabled users will provide valuable feedback on accessibility or problems of use and its severity.
Finally, it never hurts to use tools from automatic web accessibility check like these:  eXaminator (in Spanish)
- HERA (in several languages, also in Spanish)
- Benefits of web accessibility .
- Spanish legislation on web accessibility .
- Brief Web Accessibility Guide (W3C).
- web accessibility .
Both offer a quick tool that analyzes if your website complies web accessibility standards offering advice on how to solve it
Does this blog comply with accessibility standards ?, sadly not yet.
Web accessibility is not easy if you do not apply it from the beginning. In many cases they are habits that you must acquire when inserting links or content, so it is better if you start as soon as possible, and I have been doing it for many years, which I suppose would have to have a good time to make it accessible … but I am in it little by little and I hope to have it nice and accessible in a short time.
The advantages are obvious, as we have seen, and in fact it is not so complicated if you follow some simple guidelines and get used to them.