Accessible Solutions: The Value of Accessible Web Design

Edwin L N Thoms


An exploration of techniques and theories that will help Web and Multimedia designers understand and implement design solutions for accessible web content is the basis of this thesis report. A rich online environment for all people (disabled and non-disabled) will emerge once strategies are in place for designers to research, test, and implement standards of accessible design. The concept of accessibility is explored, and misconceptions regarding accessible standards and practices are dispelled. The research report covers the laws and standards set by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The objectives are three fold: 1. To define accessibility and how it impacts upon the web design industry; 2. To illustrate techniques a designer can use to incorporate accessibility into online web design; 3. To use the thesis web site as a springboard of information in understanding accessibility, and how it can help with normal design solutions such as project management and site control. Often, designers misunderstand the meaning of accessible standards and find that it is difficult to place into practical use. With strategies in place, designers can develop a rich online environment for everyone.