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Accessibility on the web has been an issue for over a decade, and it remains a crucial--but often overlooked--element of web design. Instructor Zoe Gillenwater explains the concept of accessibility as it applies to the web, and describes how it affects the audience. She also covers how to set up accessibility testing, and how to apply accessibility principles to new and existing sites using standards-compliant markup and CSS. Exercise files accompany the tutorials.
>> We've talked about how web accessibility helps people with disabilities. But it also has a lot of benefits for you and your clients. I've grouped together these benefits for you, the web designer, with that of your client or employer, because they really go hand in hand. The things that make your work easier and more effective usually benefit your client as well, as vice versa. You can look at web accessibility with a negative or a positive attitude. One of the negative ways of looking at it is that you should do it because you can avoid being accused of discrimination against people with disabilities.
So you do it because you have to comply with anti-discrimination laws, you want to avoid lawsuits, and this can even apply to private companies. But you can also look at accessibility in a positive light. For one thing, it can promote the image of your company as being socially responsible. There can also be financial incentives to making your web pages more accessible. By allowing your web pages to be accessed by more people, you're increasing your user or customer base. That can mean more sales or funding for your organization.
Changes that you make for accessibility also usually make your pages easier to maintain, update and redesign. That means it's less time that you have to spend doing tedious maintenance work. And it's less hours that your client has to pay you for. Pages that are accessible often work better on a wider variety of devices. Again, less time debugging for you, less frustration, more time to work on the fun stuff of web design. And again, less time that the client has to pay you for. Accessible web pages have very streamlined page markup. That decreases the file size, which means there's less bandwidth for your client to pay for on their web servers.
It also makes your pages load faster so you can have happier, more satisfied users and customers. Again, that could translate into a financial incentive for your client. These streamlined pages also have better search engine results. With less markup, you're increasing your keyword density and also the waiting of your keywords. Also, when you use semantic markup, as we'll explain in a later movie, you're adding more keywords to the page. So again, you're increasing your keyword density. Keyword density is simply a measure of how many keywords are on your page versus all of the other code and things that make up your page.
Another reason to learn and use website accessibility techniques is that it can improve your competitiveness. It can be a selling point for you as a web designer as another skill added to your skill set. Web accessibility is one of the current best practices referred to as web standards. Web standards based design is very popular right now and can really create the impression that you're a high quality designer. It's another way to differentiate yourself from the competition when you're looking to get web design jobs, request for proposals listing their qualifications.
It can also be a selling point for your organization when they're responding to requests for proposals. If you're applying for federal funding, it's required by law that you comply with web accessibility. Next, we'll talk about the standards in Section 508.
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