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This talk will cover:
diﬀerent types of disabilities,
assistive technologies, legal and
ethical responsibilities as well as a
range of terms such as W3C, WAI
We’ll start by deﬁning the terms
“web accessibility” and
“Web accessibility” is the measure of
how eﬀectively all people, including
those with disabilities, are able to
access and use electronic
A “disability” is any continuing
condition that restricts everyday
According to a 2015 ABS survey:
• 4,290,100 (18.3%) of Australians
have some sort of disability.
• 3,392,600 (14.5%) of Australians
have a disability that restricts daily
In other words:
• at least 1 in 5 Australians have
some sort of disability
• almost 1 in 7 Australians have a
disability that restricts daily
These ratios also increase with age.
• Around 2 in 5 Australians, 65
years or older, has some sort of
Types of disability
Disabilities are often broken down
into four broad categories:
• motor skill
Other barriers that are not technically
disabilities but can have a major
impact on peoples lives include
literacy and language.
According to a 2009 ABS survey:
• 7.3 million (44%) of Australians
had literacy skills at Levels 1 or 2
• 6.4 million (39%) at Level 3
• 2.7 million (17%) at Level 4/5
A large percentage of Australians
with lower levels of literally are non-
native English speakers. This group
is often referred to as “English as a
Second Language” (ESL).
For example, 17% of Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Islander people who
speak an Indigenous language do
not speak English well or at all.
This is why it is vital for web
content writers to consider reading
levels, keyword density and the
avoidance of technical “jargon”.
These levels can be measured
using algorithms such as Flesch
Kincaid and the Gunning Fox Index.
Anyone involved in writing content
should avoid terms like “dumbing
down” as this is not only insulting, it
is a fundamental misunderstanding
of eﬀective communication.
Why is it important to be
aware of these barriers?
1. We need to be aware of how our
users interact with our products in
all sorts of situations and diﬀerent
2. Solving problems for situational
and short-term barriers often
beneﬁts disabled audiences as
3. Some groups, such as ESL, even
though not classed as a disability,
need special attention.
Legal vs ethical responsibility
All Australian websites and mobile
applications must comply with the
World Wide Web Access: Disability
Discrimination Act 1992
The relevant Advisory Note states:
“All existing non-government
websites and web content should
comply with WCAG 2.0 to a
minimum level of AA conformance
by December 31, 2013.”
This means more than just websites
and apps; it means all content that
is presented to users - including
Word ﬁles, PDF ﬁles and much more.
We’ll look at what “WCAG 2.0”
means soon, but before we do…
It is important that we look beyond
our “legal responsibilities”.
We should aim to make our websites
and content accessible because we
What is WCAG?
The World Wide Web Consortium
or the W3C is an international
community that develops the open
standards for the Web.
The W3C produces speciﬁcations
on a wide range of web-related
topics including HTML, CSS and
Within the W3C, there is a sub-group
called the Web Accessibility
Initiative (WAI) Working Group.
The WAI Working Group has been
responsible for developing the Web
Content Accessibility Guidelines
The WCAG guidelines provide a
standard for web content
WCAG 1.0 became a W3C
Recommendation in May 1999.
WCAG 2.0 became a W3C
Recommendation in December
WCAG 2.1 became a Candidate
Recommendation in January 2018.
It is not yet a W3C Recommendation.
Website owners should be aware of
changes in this latest version and
prepare for when it becomes a full