What is Accessibility?
As defined by Merriam-Webster (2016) accessibility means "providing access; capable of being reached; being within reach; easy to communicate or deal with; capable of being influenced: open; capable of being used or seen: available; capable of being understood or appreciated".
Leo Valdes (1998) created a definition for accessibility while working with the United Nations on the UN Enable project that states accessibility is a “means providing flexibility to accommodate each user’s needs and preferences.”
The need for accessibility is very often due to a disability.
- According to the United Nations approximately 15% of the world's population (about 1 billion people) is disabled.
- In the United States, roughly 20% of the population is considered disabled.
- In countries where the average life expectancy is greater than 70 years old, the citizens of those countries will on average spend 8 years of their lives with a disability.
It is for these reasons that it is paramount that content that is accessed by the public be created and formatted in a way that is completely accessible to everyone.
"Accessibility." Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Publication City: Publisher, year. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/accessible. March 16, 2016.
Valdes, L. (1998). Accessibility on the internet [United Nations Enable]. Retrieved from http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/enable/disacc00.htm.