Why Web Accessibility is Important


Consider these facts:

1996 Chartbook on Disability in the United States estimates that "19.4% of noninstitutionalized civilians in the United States, totaling 48.9 million people, have a disability. Almost half of these people (an estimated 24.1 million people) can be considered to have a severe disability."
-- Source www.infouse.com/disabilitydata/p4.textgfx.html

According to Georgia Tech's GVU WWW Survey (April 1998), approximately eight percent of web users have a disability. Nearly half of those users are blind or visually impaired. For more details check out the GVU WWW site at: www.gvu.gatech.edu/user_surveys/.

An article in WebReview by Joseph Lazzaro entitled, "Making the Internet accessible for persons of all abilities," (September 4, 1998) states "According to the United States government statistics, there are about 35 million persons in the country with physical, sensory, or cognitive disabilities. The World Health Organization puts the figures for worldwide disability numbers much higher -- at around 750 million."
--Source www.webreview.com/1998/09_04/index.shtml

An article by the Washington Post on August 24, 2000 discusses what changes may be ahead since all federal agencies will begin making their Web sites accessible. (washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A13415-2000Aug23.html).

It doesn't matter if you use the numbers from the Chartbook on Disability or use Mr. Lazzaro's article, the point is that disabled users are an active portion of our population and Web sites should be designed to enable all audiences/clients equal use of our information.

How do I find out more about Web Accessibility?

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)
Has developed and published accessibility guidlines called the Web Accessibility Initiative. You can visit their Web site by clicking on the link below.

Land Grant Training Alliance
Free on-line lessons in accessible Web page design can be found by clicking on the link below.