The Ethics of Web Design: Ensuring Access for Everyone

The Ethics of Web Design: Ensuring Access for Everyone

Jack S. Cook (Rochester Institute of Technology, USA) and Laura Cook (State University of New York, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-939-7.ch243
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Web accessibility is really not a technological issue but rather a cultural problem. A Web site is said to be Web accessible if anyone, regardless of capabilities or disabilities, using any kind of Web browsing technology to visit the site has full and complete access to the site’s content and has the ability to interact with the site if required. If properly planned from the start, a Web site can be functional, accessible and aesthetically pleasing. This chapter focuses on ensuring access to information available on the Internet. The overall objective is to increase awareness of Web accessibility issues by providing rationale for why Web designers should be interested in creating accessible sites. Specifically, this chapter identifies some of the emerging digital barriers to accessibility encountered by those with disabilities. Current efforts to address these barriers legally are identified and their effectiveness for breaking down barriers is discussed. The World Wide Web Consortium’s (W3C’s) Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) is discussed, followed by a study of the 50 most visited Web sites. The chapter concludes with a discussion of the importance of this topic and future developments.

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