The importance of accessibility for all

In terms of online digital information the term ‘accessibility‘ refers to online content such as webpages being presented in a way in which they can be fully perceived and fully engaged with by everybody including people with disabilities.

Whether this means visually, aurally, cognitively or physically the user should be able to engage with the online content as it appears onscreen or be able to utilise an assistive technology to allow for full engagement in another way (eg a screen reader could read out text for people with visual impairments or video captions could be used to translate dialogue in videos for people with hearing impairments)

Content which is not accessible will not be available to everybody who might wish to access it and this may have the following consequences:

  • Firstly and most importantly it leads to inequality and discrimination. People who can’t engage with online content will not have access to the message or products or training or services etc etc put online by content providers. For content providers this means that their message will not reach as many people as they would want, their products won’t sell as well as they could, their training will not have as many students as it might have and their services will not be available to as many people as they should (etc etc).
  • It is also likely that your country will have laws governing online accessibility and depending on what industry you are in you may be in breach of these laws.  The UK has the Equality Act 2010 and the Public Sector Bodies Accessibility Regulations 2018 which set the accessibility requirements for certain sectors in the UK (I will include more info on these in the ‘Additional Information’ section for our UK trainees)

To summarise:

  • We’ve had a quick look at what kind of things we are doing online.
  • We’ve had a brief look at why we should make our digital information as accessible as possible.


We are now going to start the actual learning part of this course by looking at some of the issues people with disabilities might face when accessing online services.   We will accompany this with some of the strategies that they and content providers can use to ensure full accessibility for their digital information. We will start with accessibility for people with visual impairments.