What is Web Site Accessibility?
The practice of web site accessibility ensures that all users have equal access to your web site content and features. Generally this is thought of as for users with disabilities but also to ensure access to users across different devices and users on low-bandwidth Internet connections.
There are no legal requirements for privately owned Australian web sites to conform to a specific web accessibility standard however, by not providing an accessible web site a business may leave themselves open to a complaint being lodged against them under the Disability Discrimination Act. Since 2008 the Australian Government ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), which states that access to information, communications and services (including the internet), is a human right.
The Australian Government has endorsed the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0, a guideline created by The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) the foremost authority of international web standards and thus this is a good benchmark for all businesses to measure against.
How to ensure your web site is accessible?
There are online tools available for testing web site accessibility, however these tools are not full-proof and often a web site owner or developer will have to make a judgement call as to whether a web site is adequately meeting the guidelines provided by the WCAG 2.0.
For a list of web site accessibility checking tools please see the W3C Complete List of Web Accessibility Evaluation Tools