An award-winning North-East web designer is joining forces with organisations and business groups to spread the word about the importance of accessibility, making sure that anyone with a disability or impairment can use the internet with ease.
Jackie Latham of Jackdaw Web Design has taken on the challenge due to experiencing her own difficulties, and because of a growing frustration at the number of websites that don’t take accessibility seriously. She said:
“The impact of making sure that the web is fully accessible is huge. Imagine what your life would be like if you couldn’t a site due to sight or hearing loss. You would struggle to do online shopping or look after your finances, you would be prevented from being able to work from home and earn your living.
“Almost all day-to-day tasks are online now. Recruitment and training is now mainly online, so imagine not being to learn or to apply for the job you desperately want? Accessibility has to become a main driver for all organisations working online in any form.”
Web accessibility means that websites, tools, and technologies are designed and developed so that people with disabilities can use them. That also includes apps. It is not aimed at a particular age group, in fact the biggest consumer of subtitles is the 18–25-year-old bracket, and it is not for just a few people – over 1 billion people around the world have to use assistive technology such as screen readers, magnifiers and text-to-speech software. Jackie continued:
“A disability doesn’t have to be permanent; accessibility can also help with temporary disabilities such as a broken arm or an eye patch. The ability to use a website can also be situational, loss of glasses, bright sunlight, even a slow internet connection. In that moment if your target audience can’t use your website in a suitable way to get the information they need, then you have lost them.
“Why take that risk when it is fairly straightforward to have an accessible site? In today’s society all steps should be taken to not alienate anyone and the best way to avoid that is to make sure your site is accessible.”
Having recently spoken at the Morpeth Women’s Group, Jackie is keen to speak at further groups to spread the word. In the presentations, Jackie not only shares how to make your site more accessible but also the benefits to you and your business. For more information you can visit www.jackdawwebdesign.co.uk or find Jackie on LinkedIn and ping her a message if you have a group that you would to benefit from her talk.