Accessibility – an Overview

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Accessibility is not a rocket science; accessibility is about making products usable to all users including people with disabilities.

Accessibility involves two key issues: how users with disabilities access electronic information and how web content designers and developers enable web pages to function with assistive devices used by individuals with disabilities.

For the user with a disability, the challenge is to identify tools that provide the most convenient access to web-based and other electronic information. For the web content designer/developer, the challenge is to remove the obstacles that prevent accessibility tools from functioning effectively. In many cases, these challenges are relatively simple to overcome, but sometimes the solutions require some additional thought and effort.

Read more on Adobe Accessibility site

Who are people with disabilities?

There are three types of disabilities:

  • Functional disabilities
  • Temporary disabilities
  • Situational disabilities

Functional disabilities

  • Auditory – Auditory disabilities range from mild or moderate hearing loss in one or both ears (“hard of hearing”) to substantial and uncorrectable hearing loss in both ears (“deafness”). Some people with auditory disabilities can hear sounds but sometimes not sufficiently to understand all speech, especially when there is background noise. This can include people using hearing aids.
  • Cognitive, learning and neurological – Cognitive, learning, and neurological disabilities involve neurodiversity and neurological disorders, as well as behavioral and mental health disorders that are not necessarily neurological. They may affect any part of the nervous system and impact how well people hear, move, see, speak, and understand information. Cognitive, learning, and neurological disabilities do not necessarily affect the intelligence of a person.
  • Physical – Physical disabilities (sometimes called “motor disabilities”) include weakness and limitations of muscular control (such as involuntary movements including tremors, lack of coordination, or paralysis), limitations of sensation, joint disorders (such as arthritis), pain that impedes movement, and missing limbs.
  • Speech – Speech disabilities include difficulty producing speech that is recognizable by others or by voice recognition software. For instance, the loudness or clarity of someone’s voice might be difficult to understand.
  • Visual – Visual disabilities range from mild or moderate vision loss in one or both eyes (“low vision”) to substantial and uncorrectable vision loss in both eyes (“blindness”). Some people have reduced or lack of sensitivity to certain colors (“color blindness”), or increased sensitivity to bright colors. These variations in perception of colors and brightness can be independent of the visual acuity.