How can we improve the web and make it a better experience?
Updated 2021. Posted October 2014 | By Jay Mahusay, amended by Farzana Irani
The World Wide Web is a great place to be. It is essentially an infinite source of information and learning and can be used for all kinds of purposes. Unfortunately, the web is not as accessible as we think for many people around the world. Individuals and companies alike have a responsibility to address the complex social challenges that our world faces today by improving the web using best practices. Sometimes reality is not what you see on the outside in everyday life but the social complexities that are seen in homes, schools, hospitals and regions of the world who are not even close to having basic access to technology or they do have access but the web is not easy to use - we take this for granted every minute of the day.
The web is now 32 years old and it is time to take things to the next level. Website owners, marketers, designers, project managers and web developers all need to be a part of this social change. This means providing the high standard of web best practice and quality services for optimum value as human rights online is important too in the digital age. This will encourage more and more people to discover the benefits of the web and inspire them to make a contribution themselves.
Businesses have a corporate responsibility to improve to work towards better digital inclusion and taking part in making the web more accessible so that people located in remote areas, the elderly and people with disabilities can access and enjoy the web to the fullest.
So who can help? Everyone. The Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) works with various organisations around the world in order to help improve web accessibility. The main goal is to make it easier for disabled people and the elderly, but WAI also wants to help make it more usable for all other users as well.
WAI has created a list of accessibility guidelines, which are now the standard when it comes to web development. One very simple example of how webmasters can make their websites more accessible includes adding descriptive alt tags to each image. This makes is easy for blind people who are using text to speech software to understand exactly what each image represents.
Searching for the Web Accessibility Initiative online will provide you with valuable resources which include accessibility guidelines as well as helpful and easy to understand tutorials for web developers, web designers, project managers, content authors, web trainers and more.
You will also be able to learn more about how people with disabilities use the web in order to get a better idea of what improvements you will need to make to your own website. If you have ideas of your own about improving the web and making it a better place for everyone, you can send them to WAI.
The Web Foundation state: "We seek to establish the open Web as a global public good and a basic right, ensuring that everyone can access and use it freely."
View the results of the Survey of Web Accessibility Practitioners via WebAIM.
An easy, open and accessible web has a long way to go...
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