An estimated 15% of the world's population lives with a disability of some kind, according to The World Bank. For this group of people across the globe, disability rights and inclusivity are not an abstract social issue, but a pressing concern that impacts everyday life. In recent years, there has been progress in terms of making the world more accessible for all disabled people. In the 1990s, the Americans with Disabilities Act established crucial civil rights guarantees and discrimination protection, and in 2007, the signing of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities marked a global step forward. Of course, there's still much to be done, and that includes bringing accessibility to the land of memes and Twitter wars. That's right; we're talking about the internet.
Web accessibility is about making the internet, as well as mobile apps, a place that disabled people can use, understand, and navigate with ease. Accessible websites and apps are designed so as not to exclude anyone with any type of impairment, whether that be visual, hearing, motor, cognitive, or age-related. While everyone who creates online content plays a role in web accessibility, much of the responsibility lies with web developers, the people coding and creating the web and related applications.
How can a vast space such as the internet be made usable, accessible, and comprehensible for all people? Things aren't perfect yet—a Pew Research study found that young disabled people are less likely to own a computer than able-bodied people of the same age, and many sites out there don't meet Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. But change is happening all the time, and web developers around the world are working on rewriting the web for the better.
Stacker performed extensive research to learn about the most exciting and important ways in which web developers are making the internet more accessible for all, pulling data and information from authoritative news and industry reports on web accessibility. Read on to find out why web developers care about color, how text hidden in an image can help with accessibility, and so much more.
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Editor's note: In honor of Global Accessibility Day, Microsoft is offering a matching pledge of up to $25,000 in support of Team Gleason. Founded by former NFL player Steve Gleason, this nonprofit's mission is to support people with ALS and other neuromuscular diseases live productively and independently. Please join Microsoft and MSN Causes in making a donation so that together, we can double our impact.