People with disabilities find the Internet an extremely valuable source of information and interaction. People who are blind or vision impaired have, for the first time, direct access to information using their screen reading program and speech synthesiser.
This opportunity is lost if web pages are designed in an inaccessible way. The Austalian Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission has developed Advisory Notes for accessible web design. These are based on the World Wide Web Consortium's Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. The case in 2000 of Maguire vs. SOCOG under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 in Australia has successfully shown that legislation will assist in the move towards increased web site accessibility.
Web accessibility benefits many other people as well. Some people may have slow Internet connections and turn images off on their browser. The article 'Web page design: Something for everyone' by Gunela Astbrink discusses access issues. For example, including a short description for images means that blind people know if the image is significant in the context of the Web page or is used for decoration. There are standard HTML tags (called ALT tags) to describe images.
Links to web design sites
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