I’ll be honest. Prior to working at Geonetric I knew very little about Web site accessibility or how people with disabilities are able to interact with the Internet.
I remember when Michael Herring, our in-house expert, demonstrated a JAWs reader during a Webinar. It was intriguing to hear how the technology works, and very illustrative of how important the coding is to ensuring the reader works properly. I know how easily frustrated I become when maneuvering a Web site that is less than user-friendly. I can only imagine the level of frustration experienced by those who are dependent on assistive technologies to read newspapers or shop online when they encounter a poorly coded Web site.
This week is Helen Keller Deaf-Blind Awareness week. The theme for this year’s Helen Keller Deaf-Blind Awareness week, held June 22 – 28, 2008, is “Shift how you think – the importance of technology in the lives of people who are deaf-blind.”
There is no question technology is opening doors and improving the quality of lives of many people who live with disabilities. While helping Michael perform research for our Web site accessibility white paper, I came across an example that really hit home with me.
According to Introduction to Web site Accessibility, “The Internet is one of the best things that ever happened to people with disabilities. Before the Internet, how did blind people read newspapers? They mostly didn’t. Audiotapes or Braille printouts were expensive – a Braille version of the Sunday “New York Times” would be too bulky to be practical. At best, they could ask a family member or friend to read the newspaper to them. This method works, but it makes blind people dependent upon others.”
Many clients turn to Geonetric to help make their business case for doing Web accessibility, and I’m proud that we have Michael’s passion, knowledge, and skill on staff to help our clients make an educated decision.
Download a copy of our free white paper to learn more about Web accessibility-including the physical impairments addressed by accessible sites, assistive technologies, benefits of having an accessible site, tips for constructing an accessible site, and legal implications of non-compliance.