Why is accessibility important?
Digital accessibility is about making sure all people, including those with disabilities, can access and use digital products and tools.
Technology plays an essential role in our daily lives, and everyone deserves equal access to it. Unfortunately, some people face barriers when using digital products, including people with disability, people with English as a second language or elderly people (to name a few).
As NSW Government staff, our user base includes a broad range of people with a range of abilities and preferences. We need to aim to cater to all users, including individuals with visual, auditory, motor, and cognitive abilities, as well as those with temporary or situational abilities. By making our digital products accessible we can reach a broader audience.
Implementing accessibility standards in the development of websites, web applications and digital assets:
- promotes inclusivity and equity on the internet
- supports equal access to information
- ensures all individuals have access to digital opportunities
The NSW Government aims to meet the standard of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines at an AA level.
Different ways of accessing information
Users use a variety of different technologies and tools to enhance their experience.
- Screen readers can assist visually impaired or blind individuals in navigating digital content by reading the text out loud.
- Speech recognition technology allows users to dictate text instead of typing, which can be beneficial for those with physical disabilities.
- Magnification software can help users zoom in on content, and colour filters can adjust colour settings.
- Keyboard shortcuts can provide an alternative to a mouse or touchpad, and alternative input devices such as joysticks or specialized keyboards can help those with physical disabilities interact with digital devices.
These tools can make digital content more inclusive for users with diverse needs. It is your responsibility to ensure our products and services are compatible with these technologies.
Accessibility benefits everyone
Digital accessibility benefits everyone, but it is essential for some. The World Wide Web Consortium has a wealth of information about how people with disabilities use technology, particularly the Web. This includes information on diverse abilities, barriers and user stories. Visit applying basic principles to help you understand the principles of web accessibility.
Take a look at these perspective videos demonstrating how web accessibility is essential for people with disabilities and useful for all in a variety of situations.
Engaging users and understanding needs
Engaging users and understanding their needs provides the biggest long-term gain for product teams through:
- gaining insights into user needs and current barriers
- Implementing inclusive design principles
- delivering great user experiences.