Drupal and Web Accessibility
With Drupal as your website’s content management system (CMS), you can rest assured that your website meets all the guidelines for web accessibility. In other words, Drupal is an excellent choice if you want to make your website accessible to people with disabilities (and you should!) because many of the key standards are already included as default. In addition, the Drupal community is constantly working on eliminating accessibility issues wherever they occur and as soon as they are reported.
The Importance of Web Accessibility
Web accessibility is of vital importance not only for people for disability but also for the elderly, users accessing the Internet via mobile devices and many others who use the Internet for education, employment, health care or any other reason including entertainment. The Internet is a highly important resource in most people’s lives and therefore, it is of key importance for it to be accessible to everyone and provide equal opportunities for all including people with disabilities.
What’s In It for You as Website Owner?
By making your website accessible to all web users including those with visual and hearing impairment, mobility issues (e.g. tremors, lack of fine muscle control), learning/cognitive disabilities and conditions such as photosensitive epilepsy, you can dramatically expand your client or customer base, increase user satisfaction, boost customer loyalty and demonstrate your social responsibility. Also, accessible websites are typically better ranked by search engines. As you can see, everyone benefits from accessible websites including their owners.
Web Accessibility Guidelines and Standards
Web accessibility is regulated by a series of Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). These are issued by the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) which is the leading standards organisation for the Internet at a global level. WAI’s WCAG provides an extensive guideline on how to make web content accessible to everyone with a focus on users with disabilities. But it also offers accessibility guideline for other users such as those accessing the Internet via mobile devices. The most recent WCAG was published in 2008 and was made ISO standard in 2012.
In addition to international guidelines, there are also national guidelines that are issued by national institutions/organisations. For example, in 2010 the British Standard Institute issued the British Standard 8878 (BS 8878) containing guidelines on how to make a website accessible and comply with the stipulations of the Equality Act 2010. However, it is not intended to replace or rival the WCAG. In fact, it doesn’t deal with technical aspect of website design or development but rather the processes required to meet the accessibility standards.