[ Previous | Next | Contents | Glossary | Home | Search ]
Motif and CDE 2.1 Style Guide

Chapter 12. Designing for Accessibility

Accessibility means enabling people with disabilities to participate in substantial life activities, including the use of services, products, and information.

Removing barriers to access often results in benefits for many people -- not only those with disabilities. For example, curb-cut ramps benefit wheelchair users as well as people on bicycles and those pushing shopping carts or baby carriages.

Designing accessible software has similar benefits for a wide range of users. Solutions that use the keyboard instead of the mouse aid in keyboard-intensive tasks. Visual cues help hearing-impaired users as well as those in noisy offices or using portable computers in public places.

U.S. Government statistics show that there is a growing market for accessible computer products. Approximately 40 million Americans have a disability of some type, and as the population ages, more and more of the population will develop age-related disabilities (25% by age 55; 50% by age 65).

Not only is providing access the right thing to do, section 508 of the Federal Rehabilitation Act calls for it to be required in federal contracts. In the commercial sector, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) calls for similar considerations.

Designing for accessibility also helps your customers meet their current and emerging requirements for accessible products.

[ Previous | Next | Contents | Glossary | Home | Search ]