The extent to which content is available, understandable, and usable by all, regardless of disabilities or impairments such as sensory, physical, cognitive, intellectual, or situational.
Accessibility is a W3C Web standard and, in many countries, is the law. Accessible content is easier to use and maintain, more search-engine friendly, and increases usability and understanding.
One of the main tenets of technical communication is to know your audience, but this has not always been valued on web projects. When developers only tested sites in Internet Explorer on large monitors at small resolutions, their audiences suffered a less-than-stellar experience when using another browser, a mobile device, or larger fonts.
While you may want to create content that is available, understandable, and usable, the chances are good that you’re ignoring as much as 20% of your audience.
How can you make content more available to people with disabilities? Accessibility happens during design, development, and delivery. Many content strategy best practices already address accessibility:
Take these additional steps to create accessible formatting and markup:
Creating accessible content starts with the initial design and continues through the development process. If you wait until the project is finished, it costs more. Roughly speaking, making a change during development costs $25 USD; during QA, $500 USD; after release, $15,000 USD.