What is Accessibility?
There are millions of people around the world who cannot simply pick up a traditional printed book or a newspaper and access the information it holds. Among them are children who are born blind, adults who have lost their sight, people who are physically unable to turn a page and individuals with learning disorders, like dyslexia. To empower these individuals to overcome the challenges they face in accessing information critical to their lives, we must deliver information in a variety of formats that meet a range of needs.
We also all differ in the ways in which we learn. Some individuals may grasp information more efficiently through visual or auditory means rather than printed text. Information that is accessible to people in many ways not only benefits individuals with physical, sensory and perceptual disabilities—it is also often easier for many others to use and understand. There is not one format that is optimal for all, so making information more accessible can benefit everyone.
What is Web Accessibility?
On the World Wide Web, accessibility means providing electronic information in ways that make it possible for everyone, including people with disabilities, to perceive, understand, navigate and interact with it. To that end, various Web design standards and guidelines have been developed so that users who access the web with various types of assistive technology can do so easily and effectively. Here, again, the accommodations of accessible Web design benefit all users, not just individuals with disabilities. Accessible Web pages are often easier to read, navigate and find via Internet searches.
Benetech’s Commitment to Web Accessibility
Benetech is committed to ensuring that our website is accessible. We have designed our site with existing accessibility guidelines in mind. These guidelines are based on standards issued by the U.S. Access Board under Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, known as the “Electronic and Information Technology Accessibility Standards,” and on the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 from the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).
To ensure our website is accessible, we partnered with Knowbility, Inc., a nonprofit organization whose mission is to support the independence of people with disabilities by promoting the use and improving the availability of accessible information technology. Knowbility conducted a thorough accessibility and usability audit of our site, flagging any issues or barriers, and recommended solutions to resolve them. Based on their report, we worked with our web developers to both remove any barriers to accessibility and to make many usability enhancements.
Below are some important things to note about our site’s accessibility. If you encounter a problem accessing any part of Benetech.org, or would like to provide feedback on our web accessibility, please complete the form at the bottom of this page.
Straightforward design with ARIA landmarks
The website uses an organized and accessible navigation bar, has an automatically refreshable sitemap and uses ARIA landmarks to distinguish between the core sections of each page.
Layout and font sizing
The design uses a flexible, “responsive” layout, built to optimize viewing for the vast majority of visitors, especially those who use zooming tools. The layout will accommodate any screen resolution, mobile or tablet device. In addition, we have a text resizer tool available (on the left side of the screen) that works across all viewing platforms.
Effective color contrast
We purposefully use high-contrast colors for better readability. In case the contrast is not enough for some, we provide a tool (on the left side of the screen) to drastically increase the contrast. We also provide a tool that converts the page to gray tones for those who are colorblind. Both tools work across all viewing platforms.
We’ve made an effort to ensure that every image on our site is accompanied by a text alternative (known as “alt” tag) that provides identifying details about the image or a destination for a hyperlinked image. We also worked to include even more descriptive text when necessary and possible!
When possible, videos include descriptions of what is shown and captions.
Descriptive hypertext links
Text hyperlinks are designed so that they make sense when read out of context. For instance, “Read More” is always followed by what that “more” is linking you to. This way all users are made aware of where they will end up when they select a link.
Benetech plans to continually build on this foundation of accessibility and make our site even more usable in the future. At any time during your visit you encounter any bugs, issues with accessibility or have suggestions on how we could make our site even more accessible, please feel free to send us a note through the form below: