In the case of instructional design, accessibility refers to incorporating standards and practices to make technologies more useable for people with special needs. Special needs include, but are not limited to, blindness or visual impairment, deafness or hearing loss, and limited motor skills. Although there are many distance technologies other than the Web, most have few accessibility guidelines and some have none. This article will focus solely on the Web.
Accessibility should be important to anyone who designs Web content. By ignoring Web accessibility standards, designers close themselves off from a large potential audience. They also draw attention to themselves if they are not accommodating those with special needs.
While initially costly and time-consuming, designing for accessibility is a win-win situation. By doing so, designers are increasing the chances of success for their sites, and providing easier and greater access for people with special needs. There are many free accessibility resources on the Web. In addition, there are many good books, courses, and even software that can assist you with accessibility.
Positive effects of designing for accessibility include:
- Knowing that you are in compliance with organizational and/or legal guidelines
- Decreased chance of being fined, reprimanded, or shut down for non-compliance to accepted standards, practices or policies.
- Decreased chance of dissatisfaction among potential clients or customers
- The possibility of increased profits by reaching a wider audience
- An edge over competitors who are not designing for accessibility
- Knowing that you are doing the right thing
These resources will open in a new browser window. To return to the Instructional Design Website, close the browser window that opens.Accessibility Resources
If you have trouble accessing this page, need this information in an alternative format,
or wish to request a reasonable accommodation because of a disability, contact:
Rich Berg firstname.lastname@example.org
© Copyright 2005 Board of Regents, University of Wisconsin
Last Updated: May 2005