Web accessibility refers to the web development practice of creating web contents accessible to all, regardless of abilities, disabilities, or devices and tools used for browsing. Web accessibility has recently become a fundamental legal requirement for many state and governmental websites, bureaus, agencies, schools, academic sites, scientific publications, professionals, and international project portals. At Sikos Web Consulting, we provide the desired level of web accessibility upon request and a basic level of accessibility for every project.
The power of the Web is in its universality. Access by everyone regardless of disability is an essential aspect.
— Tim Berners-Lee, W3C Director and inventor of the World Wide Web
Accessible websites assure accessibility to textual web page contents as well as graphics for blind and visually impaired users using advanced technologies, e.g., screen readers and refreshable Braille displays. This can be obtained by using text labels and descriptors for graphics and tables in the source code on the top of well-structured markup.
However, Web accessibility techniques are not limited to the visually impaired or people with other disabilities. In fact, they also ease mobile access to Web contents and improve overall webpage quality.
More and more countries have introduced legislations addressing the need for websites to be accessible to people with disabilities, or the requirement to be non-discriminative against people with disabilities. Some examples are the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Australia), Disability Act, 2005 (Ireland), Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (UK), and Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act (USA).
Standards And De Facto Standards
WCAG 1.0 and WCAG 2.0
Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) are collections of Web accessibility guidelines published by W3C’s Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI).
WCAG 1.0 can be satisfied at three priority levels: Priority Level 1 (requirements that must be satisfied), Priority Level 2 (requirements that should be satisfied), and Priority Level 3 (requirements that may be satisfied). WCAG 2.0 conformance requirements are defined as Level A, Level AA (Double-A), and Level AAA (Triple-A) requirements, respectively.
Unlike most markup and notation codes used on the Web, accessibility cannot be validated automatically with a 100% certainty. Although there are some useful tools to generate reports on accessible content, this task requires a qualified, experienced web developer. Checkpoints and success criteria have been published by W3C.
Most web agencies fail to provide accessible code because a prerequisite for web accessibility is standards compliance and proper document structuring, and most developers do not create fully valid markup and semantically meaningful, complete and error-free document structure. Our company specialises in web standardisation and fulfill these requirements by default. Our contents can be used on a variety of devices and platforms, and support advanced software such as screen reader applications to read out load the text presented on your website.
Assistive and Adaptive Technology Advice And Training
Sikos Web Consulting provides professional advice and training on Assistive Technology and Adaptive Technology devices, both hardware and software from electronic magnifiers to screen readers, to Braille devices, to smartphone and Kindle.
Although often used as synonyms, Adaptive Technology is, in fact, a subset of Assistive Technology. Adaptive Technology often refers specifically to electronic and Information Technology access .
- Assistive Technology: “any object or system that increases or maintains the capabilities of people with disabilities”. “Any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities .”
- Adaptive Technology: items specifically designed for persons with disabilities that would seldom be used by non-disabled persons
Electronic Magnifiers And Readers
ZoomText magnifier/reader, MAGic magnifier reader, Lightning magnifier, etc.
Screen Readers, Dictation And Text-To-Speech Software
JAWS, NVDA, Window Eyes, SuperNova, etc.
Braille hardware and software
Refreshable Braille Displays, Braille Notetakers, And Tablets
Mobile Phone And GPS Accessibility
-  Assessing for Adaptive Technology Needs. Disability Training Network (DTN), Center on Disability and Development, Texas A&M University. http://dtn.tamu.edu/pdf/pp-assessingAT.ppt. Accessed 08 October 2012.
-  Assistive Technology v. Adaptive Technology. In: Tennessee Science Standards. The McGraw-Hill Companies. http://glencoe.mcgraw-hill.com/sites/dl/free/0078901359/594902/AAT_v4.pdf. Accessed 08 October 2012.