What does accessibility best practice look like?

Tue 4 June 2019

Woman wears dark glasses and earphones while navigating her smartphone. Image courtesy of Vision Australia.

The Centre for Accessibility’s inaugural Australian Access Awards are open for nominations. A chance for your organisation to be recognised for its commitment to inclusion of people with disability in the digital space, the Awards will celebrate accessibility best practice across websites, apps and other digital initiatives.

There are nine categories for the Awards, including:

  • Corporate website of the year (commercial)
  • Government website of the year
  • Educational website of the year
  • Not-for-profit/community website of the year
  • Corporate app of the year (commercial)
  • Government app of the year
  • Educational app of the year
  • Not-for-profit/community app of the year
  • Accessibility Initiative of the Year (could be a website, app, project, IoT, video; anything across all sectors)

So, what does accessibility best practice actually look like? That’s just it – it’s what you can’t see that makes a huge difference to the user experience, especially for people with disability.

It all comes down to successful implementation of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) version 2.1. Developed by the World Wide Web Consortium, or W3C, WCAG 2.1 is the current global standard for accessibility of web content, websites and web applications. This standard helps web designers and developers make web content more accessible to everyone, particularly older people and people with disability.

Here’s what the judges of the Access Awards will be looking for across the nominated website or app (and what every organisation should aspire to in the development of their digital assets):

  • Does it provide text alternatives for non-text content?
  • Does it provide captions for video?
  • Does it provide audio description for video?
  • Is content presented in different ways, including to assistive technologies, without losing meaning?
  • Does it make it easier for users to see and hear content?
  • Is all functionality available from a keyboard?
  • Does it give users enough time to read and use content?
  • Does it remove elements that could cause seizures or physical reactions?
  • Does it help users navigate and find content?
  • Does it make it easier to use inputs other than keyboard?
  • Does it make text readable and understandable?
  • Does it make content appear and operate in predictable ways?
  • Does it help users avoid and correct mistakes?
  • Does it maximise compatibility with current and future user tools?

The Centre for Accessibility website has all the information you need about the Access Awards, including key dates, descriptions of each nomination category and an overview of the judging process. Winners will be announced on International Day of People with Disability.

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