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Votre site Web est-il vraiment accessible à tous?

Is your website truly accessible to everyone?

September 4, 2017By Louis-David Noël
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Web accessibility in Quebec

In May 2011, the Government of Quebec voted into effect a law concerning web accessibility for all government websites and parapublic institutions (CEGEPs, universities, hospitals...) This law is described in the SGQRI-008 standard, came into effect in May 2012. But do we even know what accessibility is?

Many people confuse accessibility and content availability. These 2 terms may seem to have similar meanings, but with web content, there is a big difference.

What is accessibility?

Web accessibility is the adaptation of a web platform for people having a visual, hearing, motor or cognitive disability so they can perceive, understand and interact with the web content. The W3C, which is responsible for web standardization, describes the international accessibility guidelines in the WCAG 2.0 (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) good practice guidelines.

Content availability is simply the content of your website that is available online. There is a big difference!

Visual disability

Of course there are the blind, who have access to the web through speech synthesis or a screen reader, but there are also other types of limitations, such as colour blindness, limited vision and visual problems associated with aging. This video explains how a well-adapted website can help people with visual impairments.

Hearing disability

Because information on the web is mainly visual, the hearing impaired are often at the top of the list of those overlooked. When producing audio content, it is important to consider sound contrasts or offer subtitles.

Physical disability

We think about people with total paralysis, but what about those suffering from trembling or fine motor skill problems? We must prepare an alternative way to execute tasks that need a lot of precision. There are many innovations in this field (please take a look at this video to understand how these inventions can change lives).

Cognitive disability

Finally, memory & concentration loss and intellectual disabilities are other limitations for which a different accessibility method must be prepared. Simplifying the user interface, avoiding any distraction and lightning texts are all ways of making your content more accessible for these web users.

The importance of accessibility

Few providers or businesses go through the hassle of making a website accessible... whether it is because of ignorance, lack of interest or simply oversight. If public buildings must be accessible to the people suffering from motor impairments, websites should also follow that idea. A government website must serve its entire population as fairly as possible.

What are the benefits for your business?

Accessibility can greatly improve the quality of life of many disabled people. It can allow them to enjoy greater freedom or a greater role in society, regardless of their impairment.

The aging population means that accessibility is useful for an ever-growing proportion of society. Disregarding accessibility means disregarding a segment of the public in constant growth. Also, most of the improvements suggested by accessibility will be useful to other users and heavily influence your referencing.

Accessibility in every stage of the project

Accessibility must be considered in every stage of the project: during the editing, when choosing the terms and the keywords to use, the functional and graphic design, and more importantly during integration.

As Denis Boudreau, former president of Accessibilité Web, used to say: "If it is the responsibility of the disabled to find ways to access the web, it is up to content producers to make content accessible."

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