The degree to which websites and web application s are available and usable by people regardless of ability.
Web accessibility is often used to describe the right of access to web services and products for the elderly and people with disabilities. In this context, accessibility depends on how a person’s disability or age affects the way they perceive content on a page and how they navigate between pages. A wide range and scale of disabilities can affect accessibility, from visual, hearing and physical impairments, to motor and cognitive impairments.
Though providing an inclusive and open experience for disabled users is an important facet of web accessibility, it is a far more wide-reaching topic. Creating an accessible website or application can benefit any user. A good example of this is a responsive design that makes a website’s content and functionality more accessible for people, regardless of what device they are using to access the web.
Web accessibility is not to be confused with web usability, which is the extent to which a website can be used by people to complete specific goals with ease and efficiency. That said, implementing accessibility best practices will often help improve the usability of a website or application. A good example of this is when Tesco launched an ‘accessible’ version of their website in 2002. The website was a huge success and by 2005 it was generating Tesco revenue in excess of £13m per annum. Whilst in large part this was due to blind customers now having access to Tesco’s online store, a study found that many non-disabled customers switched to the Tesco Access site citing ‘they find it easier and faster to use!’