Accessibility is the design of products, devices, services, or environments for people with disabilities. The concept of accessible design and practice of. Accessibility is essential for developers and organizations that want to create high quality websites and web tools, and not exclude people from using their. However, currently many sites and tools are developed with accessibility barriers that make them difficult or impossible for some people to use. Making the web.
Although employment for workers with disabilities is higher in the public sector due to hiring programs targeting persons with disabilities, regulations currently restrict types of work available to persons with disabilities: Expenses related to adaptive or assistive technology required to participate in the workforce may be tax deductible expenses for individuals with a medical practitioner's prescription in some jurisdictions.
Disability Management DM is a specialized area of human resources , to support efforts by employers to better integrate and retain workers with disabilities. Some workplaces have policies in place to provide "reasonable accommodation" for employees with disabilities, however, many do not.
In some jurisdictions, employers may have legal requirements to end discrimination against persons with disabilities. It has been noted by researchers that where accommodations are in place for employees with disabilities, these frequently apply to individuals with "pre-determined or apparent disabilities as determined by national social protection or Equality Authorities",  which include persons with pre-existing conditions who receive an official disability designation.
One of the biggest challenges for employers is in developing policies and practises to manage employees who develop disabilities during the course of employment. Even where these exist, they tend to focus on workplace injuries, overlooking job retention challenges faced by employees who acquire a non-occupation injury or illness. Protecting employability is a factor that can help close the unemployment gap for persons with disabilities. Meetings and conferences should consider the needs of all of their participants.
Checklists such as this may make it easier to identify specific needs: Accessibility based planning is a spatial planning methodology that centralises goals of people and businesses and defines accessibility policy as enhancing people and business opportunities. Traditionally, urban transportation planning has mainly focused on the efficiency of the transport system itself and is often responding to plans made by spatial planners.
Such an approach neglects the influence of interventions in the transport system on broader and often conflicting economic, social and environmental goals. Accessibility based planning defines accessibility as the amount of services and jobs people can access within a certain travel time, considering one or more modes of transport such as walking, cycling, driving or public transport.
Using this definition accessibility does not only relate to the qualities of the transport system e. It thus provides planners with the possibility to understand interdependencies between transport and land use development.
Accessibility planning opens the floor to a more normative approach to transportation planning involving different actors. Accessibility is also defined as "the potential for interaction". Generally since the s, accessibility instruments have been developed for a multitude of contexts and scopes.
These instruments have their focus on origins and on destinations, they measure access through time, distance or cost and focus on different modes of transportation and geographical scales. Accessibility instruments are thus able to show what are the best accessible places or opportunities within a city or region, considering one or more specific modes of transportation, timeslots and target groups.
In addition to this, the maps, which are produced as the instrument output, are considered as considerably useful when assessing the effects of new developments in a city. The first ever first large scale compendium of accessibility instruments was developed in , under the framework of Cost Action TU, and is available.
Despite the high potential of accessibility in integrating the different components of urban planning, such as land use and transportation and the large number of accessibility instruments available in the research literature, the latter are not widely used to support urban planning practices.
Focusing on the link between research and practice, the Cost Action TU  seeks to find out why accessibility instruments are not more often used in urban planning practice and reflects on how to reduce such implementation gap in planning practice. The existence of accessibility instruments is fairly acknowledged, but practitioners do not appear to have found them useful or usable enough for addressing the tasks of sustainable urban management.
This Cost Action TU is bringing together developers of accessibility instruments all over Europe and Australia to work with land use and transportation planning practitioners to explore how these instruments can play a more supportive role in enhancing accessibility in European cities and beyond.
In doing so, it is expected that the additional knowledge on the potential of accessibility instruments for urban planning practice will have beneficial impacts on urban quality and decision making on urban land use patterns. Providing mobility to people with disabilities includes changes for public facilities like gently sloping paths of travel for people with wheelchairs and difficulty walking up stairs, or audio announcements for the blind; dedicated services like paratransit ; and adaptations to personal vehicles.
Automobile accessibility also refers to ease of use by disabled people. Automobiles, whether a car or a van, can be adapted for a range of physical disabilities. Foot pedals can be raised, or replaced with hand-controlled devices.
Wheelchair hoists, lifts or ramps may be customized according to the needs of the driver. Ergonomic adaptations, such as a lumbar support cushion, may also be needed.
Generally, the more limiting the disability, the more expensive the adaptation needed for the vehicle. Financial assistance is available through some organizations, such as Motability in the United Kingdom, which requires a contribution by the prospective vehicle owner. Motability makes vehicles available for purchase or lease. When an employee with a disability requires an adapted car for work use, the employee does not have to pay for a " reasonable adjustment " in the United Kingdom; if the employer is unable to pay the cost, assistance is offered by government programs.
A significant development in transportation, and public transport in particular, to achieve accessibility, is the move to "low-floor" vehicles. In a low-floor vehicle, access to part or all of the passenger cabin is unobstructed from one or more entrances by the presence of steps, enabling easier access for the infirm or people with push chairs. A further aspect may be that the entrance and corridors are wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair. Low-floor vehicles have been developed for buses , trolleybuses and trams.
A low floor in the vehicular sense is normally combined in a conceptual meaning with normal pedestrian access from a standard kerb curb height. However, the accessibility of a low-floor vehicle can also be utilised from slightly raising portions of kerb at bus stops , or through use of level boarding bus rapid transit stations or tram stops. Low-floor buses may also be designed with special height adjustment controls that permit a stationary bus to temporarily lower itself to ground level, permitting wheelchair access.
This is referred to as a kneeling bus. At rapid transit systems, vehicles generally have floors in the same height as the platforms but the stations are often underground or elevated, so accessibility there isn't a question of providing low-floor vehicles, but providing a step-free access from street level to the platforms generally by elevators , which are somewhat restricted to disabled passengers only, so that the step-free access isn't obstructed by healthy people taking advantage.
In the United Kingdom , local transport authorities are responsible for checking that all people who live within their area can access essential opportunities and services, and where gaps in provision are identified the local authorities are responsible for organizing changes to make new connections.
These requirements are defined in the UK Community Planning Acts legislation  and more detailed guidance has been issued by the Department for Transport for each local authority.
This includes the requirement to produce an Accessibility Plan under Community Planning legislation and to incorporate this within their Local Transport Plan.
Accessibility targets are defined in the accessibility plans, these are often the distance or time to access services by different modes of transport including walking, cycling and public transport.
Accessibility Planning was introduced as a result of the report "Making the Connections: Final Report on Transport and Social Exclusion". The United Kingdom also has a "code of practice" for making train and stations accessible: A Code of Practice". Making public services fully accessible to the public has led to some technological innovations.
Public announcement systems using audio induction loop technology can broadcast announcements directly into the hearing aid of anyone with a hearing impairment, making them useful in such public places as auditoriums and train stations. Australia's government has supported the creation of the National Public Toilet Map , to enable users to locate public toilet facilities throughout the country.
Accessibility modifications to conventional urban environments has become common in recent decades. The use of a curb cut , or kassel kerb , to enable wheelchair or walker movement between sidewalk and street level is found in most major cities of wealthy countries. The creation of priority parking spaces and of disabled parking permits has made them a standard feature of urban environments.
Features that assist people with visual impairments include braille signs and tactile paving to allow a user with a cane to easily identify stairways, train platforms, and similar areas that could pose a physical danger to anyone who has a visual impairment. Urban design features that may appear to be simple conveniences for persons without disabilities are often essential to anyone who has a disability.
The loss of these features presents a significant barrier. For example, sometimes a lack of prompt snow-clearing on sidewalks of major Canadian city streets means that wheelchair and walker users cannot reach pedestrian crossing buttons on crosswalk posts, due to snow bank accumulation around the posts, making the crossing buttons inaccessible. Public services must take into account the need to maintain accessibility features in the urban environment.
Most existing and new housing, even in the wealthiest nations, lack basic accessibility features unless the designated, immediate occupant of a home currently has a disability. However, there are some initiatives to change typical residential practices so that new homes incorporate basic access features such as zero-step entries and door widths adequate for wheelchairs to pass through.
Occupational Therapists are a professional group skilled in the assessment and making of recommendations to improve access to homes.
The broad concept of Universal design is relevant to housing, as it is to all aspects of the built environment. Furthermore, a Visitability movement  begun by grass roots disability advocates in the s focuses specifically on changing construction practices in new housing. This movement, a network of interested people working in their locales, works on educating, passing laws, and spurring voluntary home access initiatives with the intention that basic access become a routine part of new home construction.
Accessibility in the design of housing and household devices has become more prominent in recent decades due to a rapidly ageing population in developed countries. A growing trend is the desire for many senior citizens to 'age in place', living as independently as possible for as long as possible. Accessibility modifications that allow ageing in place are becoming more common. Housing may even be designed to incorporate accessibility modifications that can be made throughout the life cycle of the residents.
Advances in information technology and telecommunications have represented a leap forward for accessibility.
Access to the technology is restricted to those who can afford it, but it has become more widespread in Western countries in recent years. For those who use it, it provides the ability to access information and services by minimizing the barriers of distance and cost as well as the accessibility and usability of the interface. A major advantage of advanced technology is its flexibility. Some technologies can be used at home, in the workplace, and in school, expanding the ability of the user to participate in various spheres of daily life.
Augmentative and alternative communication technology is one such area of IT progress. It includes inventions such as speech-generating devices , Teletypewriter devices, adaptive pointing devices to replace computer mouse devices, and many others. They can be adapted to create accessibility to a range of tasks, and may be suitable for different kinds of disability. The following impairments are some of the disabilities that affect communications and technology access, as well as many other life activities:.
Each kind of disability requires a different kind of accommodation, and this may require analysis by a medical specialist, an educational specialist or a job analysis when the impairment requires accommodation. One of the first areas where information technology improved the quality of life for disabled individuals is the voice operated wheelchair.
Quadriplegics have the most profound disability, and the voice operated wheel chair technology was first developed in to provide increased mobility. The original version replaced the joystick system with a module that recognized 8 commands. Many other technology accommodation improvements have evolved from this initial development. Missing arms and fingers interferes with the use of a keyboard and pointing device mouse. This can be one of the most devastating types of handicap, and technology has made great improvements in this area during the last 20 years.
Speech recognition devices and software can improve technology access. A communication disorder interferes with the ability to produce clearly understandable speech. There can be many different causes, such as nerve degeneration, muscle degeneration, stroke, and vocal cord injury.
The modern method to deal with speaking disabilities has been to provide a text interface for a speech synthesizer for complete vocal disability. This can be a great improvement for people that have been limited to the use of a throat vibrator to produce speech since the s. This is often recognized when certain words are confused during normal conversation. This can interfere with voice-only interfaces, like automated customer service telephone systems, because it is sometimes difficult to increase the volume and repeat the message.
Mild to moderate hearing loss may be accommodated with a hearing aid that amplifies ambient sounds. Portable devices with speed recognition that can produce text can reduce problems associated with understanding conversation.
This kind of hearing loss is relatively common, and this often grows worse with age. The modern method to deal with profound hearing disability is the Internet using email or word processing applications. These devices consist of a keyboard, display and modem that connects two or more of these devices using a dedicated wire or plain old telephone service.
A wide range of technology products are available to deal with visual impairment. This includes screen magnification for monitors, mouse-over speech synthesis browsing, braille displays, braille printers, braille cameras, voice operated phones and tablets. One emerging product that will make ordinary computer displays available for the blind is the refreshable tactile display, which is very different from a conventional braille display.
This provides a raised surface corresponding to the bright and dim spots on a conventional display. An example is the Touch Sight Camera for the Blind. Speech Synthesis Markup Language V1. These technologies assist visual impairments and physical impairment by providing interactive access to web content without the need to visually observe the content.
While these technologies provides access for visually impaired individuals, the primary benefactor has been automated systems that replace live human customer service representatives that handle telephone calls. There have been a few major movements to coordinate a set of guidelines for accessibility for the web. Web "content" generally refers to the information in a Web page or Web application, including text, images, forms, and sounds. More specific definitions are available in the WCAG documents.
Each level requires a stricter set of conformance guidelines, such as different versions of HTML Transitional vs Strict and other techniques that need to be incorporated into your code before accomplishing validation.
Online tools allow users to submit their website and automatically run it through the WCAG guidelines and produce a report, stating whether or not they conform to each level of compliance. Adobe Dreamweaver also offers plugins which allow web developers to test these guidelines on their work from within the program.
As developers, it's easy to assume that all users can see and use a keyboard, mouse, or touch screen, and can interact with your page content the same way you do. This can lead to an experience that works well for some people, but creates issues that range from simple annoyances to show-stoppers for others.
Accessibility, then, refers to the experience of users who might be outside the narrow range of the "typical" user, who might access or interact with things differently than you expect. Specifically, it concerns users who are experiencing some type of impairment or disability — and bear in mind that that experience might be non-physical or temporary. For example, although we tend to center our discussion of accessibility on users with physical impairments, we can all relate to the experience of using an interface that is not accessible to us for other reasons.
Have you ever had a problem using a desktop site on a mobile phone, or seen the message "This content is not available in your area", or been unable to find a familiar menu on a tablet? Those are all accessibility issues. As you learn more, you'll find that addressing accessibility issues in this broader, more general sense almost always improves the user experience for everyone.
Let's look at an example:. Now let's wave our accessibility wand and see the form with those issues fixed. We're going to make the text darker, modify the design so that the labels are close to the things they're labeling, and fix the label to be associated with the checkbox so you can toggle it by clicking the label as well.
Which would you rather use? If you said "the accessible version", you're on your way to understanding a main premise of this guide. Often, something that's a complete blocker for a few users is also a pain point for many others, so by fixing the accessibility issue you improve the experience for everyone. Can users perceive the content? This helps us keep in mind that just because something is perceivable with one sense, such as sight, that doesn't mean that all users can perceive it.
Can users use UI components and navigate the content? For example, something that requires a hover interaction cannot be operated by someone who can't use a mouse or touch screen. Can users understand the content? Can users understand the interface and is it consistent enough to avoid confusion? Can the content be consumed by a wide variety of user agents browsers? Does it work with assistive technology? While WCAG provides a comprehensive overview of what it means for content to be accessible, it can also be a bit overwhelming.
The WebAIM checklist can give you a short, high-level summary of what you need to implement, while also linking to the underlying WCAG specification if you need an expanded definition.
With this tool in hand, you can chart a direction for your accessibility work and be confident that, as long as your project meets the outlined criteria, your users should have a positive experience accessing your content.
When learning about accessibility, it helps to have an understanding of the diverse range of users in the world and the kinds of accessibility topics that affect them.
Here at Google my job is to help ensure that our products work for all of our diverse users, regardless of impairment or ability. When we think about the kinds of impairments which would make it difficult for someone to access our content, many people will immediately picture a blind user like me.
And it's true, this impairment can really make it frustrating or even impossible to use a lot of web sites. A lot of modern web techniques have the unfortunate side effect of creating sites which don't work well with the tools used by blind users to access the web. However, there is actually more to accessibility than that. We find it useful think of impairments falling into four broad buckets: Let's go through those one at a time.
Can you give some examples of visual impairments? Visual impairments can be split into a few categories: Users with no vision, like me, might use a screen reader, braille, or combination of the two. Now, it's actually pretty unusual to have literally no vision, but still, there's a good chance you know or have met at least one person who can't see at all.
However there are also a much larger number of what we call low-vision users. This is a broad range, from someone like my wife, who doesn't have any corneas — so while she can basically see things she has a hard time reading print and is considered legally blind — to someone who might have just poor vision and needs to wear very strong prescription glasses.
There's a huge range, and so naturally there's a big range of accommodations that people in this category use: They might also use high-contrast options like an operating system high-contrast mode, a high-contrast browser extension or a high-contrast theme for a website.
A lot of users even use a combination of these, like my friend Laura who uses a combination of high-contrast mode, browser zoom and text-to-speech. Low vision is something a lot of people can relate to. For a start, we all experience deteriorating vision as we age, so even if you haven't experienced it there's a good chance you've heard your parents complain about it.
But a lot of people experience the frustration of taking their laptop out by a sunny window only to find they suddenly can't read anything! Or anyone who's had laser surgery or maybe just has to read something from across the room might have used one of those accommodations I mentioned. So I think it's pretty easy for developers to have some empathy for low-vision users.
Accessibility and the U.S. Geological Survey
Accessibility definition, easy to approach, reach, enter, speak with, or use. See more. Accessibility focuses on how a disabled person accesses or benefits from a site, system or application. Accessibility is an important part of the designing your. Accessible definition is - capable of being reached; also: being within reach. How to use accessible in a sentence.