What access challenges might visitors to a web page experience?

DO-IT Factsheet #109

The World Wide Web has rapidly become the dominant Internet tool, combining hypertext and multimedia to provide a network of educational, governmental, and commercial resources. Much of its power comes from the fact that it presents information in a variety of formats and also organizes that information through hypertext links. Because of the multimedia nature of the web, combined with the poor design of some websites, many Internet surfers cannot access the full range of resources this revolutionary tool provides. Some visitors experience the following:

People use a variety of technologies to access the web. For example, a person who is blind may use a speech output system that reads aloud text presented on the screen. A person with a mobility impairment may be unable to use a mouse and may rely on the keyboard for web browsing. To create resources that can be used by the widest spectrum of potential visitors rather than an idealized "average," web page designers should apply "universal design" principles. This requires that they consider the needs of individuals with disabilities, older persons, people for whom English is a second language, and those using outdated hardware and software.

For information about accessible web design, visit World Wide Access: Accessible Web Design [1] or view the video [2] by the same title.