There are millions of people around the world who cannot 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 essential to their lives, we must deliver information in a variety of formats that meets a range of needs. People differ in the ways in which they learn. Some individuals 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 easier for many others to use and understand. There is not one format that is optimal for all, so making information accessible benefits everyone.
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 the content. Various web design standards and guidelines exist so 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, as accessible web pages are often easier to read, navigate and find via Internet searches.
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). Below are some important items 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 contact us.
The website uses an organized and accessible navigation bar, has an automatically refreshable sitemap, and uses ARIA landmarks to distinguish among the core sections of each page.
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, and 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.
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 included even more descriptive text when necessary and possible.
When possible, videos include descriptions of what is shown along with captions.
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 to. This way all users are made aware of where they will end up when they select a hyperlink.