Accessible Web Design

The Internet has brought unprecedented opportunity and independence for people living with disabilities. It can provide new and innovative ways to access information and entertainment, make purchases and communicate without relying on the assistance of other people.

But many websites are not created with accessibility in mind – this not only excludes users with a disability, but means that the information and products featured on those sites are not reaching a sizeable portion of today's audience.

CNIB’s commitment is to ensure the Digital world is a resource for everyone to use equally. There are now many  options in Canada for companies and organizations seeking support in making their digital properties fully accessible to people with vision loss and other disabilities. 

Digital Accessibility Vendors

Listed below is a sampling of Web Accessibility resources available online:

Web Accessibility Standards and Resources

W3C Resources:

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) develops interoperable technologies (specifications, guidelines, software, and tools) to lead the Web to its full potential, including promoting a high degree of usability for people with disabilities. The Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) is one of the four domains within the W3C that works with organizations around the world to develop strategies, guidelines, and resources to help make the Web accessible to people with disabilities.

  • Introduction to Accessibility
    The WAI resources listed on this page are intended to provide basic information for people who are new to Web accessibility. These include Essential Components of Web Accessibility and Quick Tips to Make Accessible Web Sites.

  • The W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)
    This set of guidelines has been developed help Web authors build accessible pages. This is version 1.0; version 2.0 of WCAG is expected to be released in the near future.

  • WAI Resources on Managing Accessibility
    This collection of resources includes advice on how to develop Web accessibility policies as well as a Web Accessibility business case for your organization.

  • How People with Disabilities Use the Web
    This document provides an introduction to use of the Web by people with disabilities. It illustrates some of their requirements when using Web sites and Web-based applications.

General Accessibility Resources:

  • Keeping Web Accessibility in Mind
    Gain an appreciation of web accessibility by understanding the user perspective. This 11.5 minute video by WebAim provides an overview of the difficulties users with disabilities face on the web and some of the motivations for web accessibility. Windows Media Format

  • The Common Look and Feel For the Internet
    Accessibility guidelines from the Government of Canada

  • RNIB Web Access Centre
    A very good overview which includes Web Content Accessibility Guidelines and how to use them to make your site accessible, from the Royal National Institute for the Blind in the UK.

  • American Foundation for the Blind Web Accessibility
    A simplified explanation of how adaptive technologies work and the importance of accessible web design practices.

  • WebAIM (Web Accessibility in Mind)
    WebAIM is a non-profit organization within the Center for Persons with Disabilities at Utah State University providing Web accessibility expertise internationally.

  • Joe Clark
    Joe Clark is a Toronto journalist, author, and accessibility consultant and is the author of one of the most informative and detailed books on accessibility (Building Accessible Websites). His Web site is home to hundreds of articles on Web accessibility as well as ongoing postings about accessibility issues and news.

Resources for Web Designers:

  • Cynthia Says
    Another online validator to help Web designers check pages for accessibility issues.

  • HTML Validation Service
    This is the W3C Mark-up Validation Service, a free service that checks Web documents in formats like HTML and XHTML for conformance to W3C Recommendations and other standards.

  • Dive into Accessibility
    A straightforward look into how you can make your site accessible for various disabilities. This website is also available as a book.