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What is accessibility and why does it matter?

May 17, 2022 | CHRT News

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At CHRT, we value equity and information access for all. To further align our practice with these values, our communication team recently increased its expertise in accessibility through WebAIM training, a robust online course offered by Utah State University. Here’s just some of what we learned. 

Over 25 million people in the U.S. have a disability (visual, auditory, or cognitive) that impacts their use of computers and the internet. Technologies, such as special screen readers, can alleviate some of these barriers. But to be effective, CHRT’s digital content must also be “accessible.” 

There are four guidelines for developing, presenting, and formatting web content for accessibility: 

  • Content must be perceivable, which is concerned with the sensory ability of a user. Font size, color contrast, and alternative text for photos and figures are some of the main ways to make content more easily perceivable.
  • Content must be operable, which means that the technology and navigation must be adapted to make it easier for readers to physically navigate the document. 
  • Content must be understandable, which refers to the structure of the information in a document. For example, using consistent formatting for headers and subheaders in a linear format helps readers understand content more easily. 
  • Finally, content must be robust, which means that the document remains accessible across a wide range of web platforms and assistive technologies. 

Following these principles, accessibility is a continuum with the goal to be as inclusive as possible. CHRT’s communications team is making substantive efforts to boost the accessibility of content across its reports, infographs, and websites. 

For more information about the W3C, see Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).