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Just How Accessible is the Internet?

Rinky Dink Inc

Many of us take the Internet for granted and getting connected is a really simple process for the majority of the United Kingdom. There are however some broadband customers now have special requirements in order to get access to the web and it means that there are steps that broadband providers and websites and connected services need to take so that it is accessible to all. These modifications or extra services need to be in place from the start so that anyone can access the website or even allow them to get connected in the first place.

Getting Connected

First and foremost, getting set up with you Internet provider may not always be that simple for some. For most of us, the process is simple, we jump on the phone or website of the broadband ISP and then place the order, often in just a few clicks. Within a couple of weeks, we will receive a broadband router and have a date when we should connect our router to our phone line.

Firstly, the process for ordering broadband needs to be available to all, across many different platforms. The majority of the major broadband providers will allow users to order via phone, website or even letter. This essentially covers all potential customers bases. The phone services often have a text service available for deaf and hard of hearing customers.

Ordering the broadband package is just the first stage for customers, once you have placed the order and received the equipment, you will then have to install it all. The process is usually very straightforward and involves plugging in a few cables, but even that can be tricky for some. A few of the major providers such as BT Broadband and Virgin Media provide a service where someone can come round and do that process for you.

Sky Broadband are known for their simple set up solution with broadband as they provide a colour coded cable system which means that plugging cables in the right port on your broadband router is just that little bit easier with them.

The Right Equipment

Getting the right equipment for people with disabilities doesn’t come cheap. First of all, there is the cost of the computer which can cost hundreds of pounds. There are several different peripherals that will be required for people with different disabilities. Those range from screen readers, assistive keyboard, and mouse plus any comfort accessories.

Fortunately, technology has improved over the past decade or so and accessing Internet services is quite a bit easier due to the increased usage of tablets. Many tablet devices such as the Apple iPad make navigating and using the hardware a lot simpler. Tablets are simple devices that can be used by everyone as they only require you to be able to press the touchscreen and not have to use a mouse or keyboard.

The Web Itself

Accessibility and websites has always been an important factor in the website building process. Importantly many of the major web companies such as Google and Mozilla have an ever-evolving database and accessibility guidelines that web developers can follow in order to improve the accessibility of their website.

Some website features like Flash, make websites hard to use on certain devices, especially those with screen readers or specialist monitors and tablets. Adobe Flash has almost been completely phased out with new browsers no longer supporting the platform.

Google are known for their innovative technology and advancements in web and have recently provided web developers with guidelines in order to make sure websites perform to the best of their ability and take into account the way that people use the Internet. For example, they have now introduced ranking factors that consider how a website is built for mobile. If your website is not accessible on a mobile, then it is likely that Google will see this as a negative ranking signal.

There are still issues across a lot of the web with many of the peripherals that disabled people rely on, such as screen readers and specialist keyboards. As a lot of sites are built with the average user in mind, accessibility may be an afterthought and therefore may not contain the right support for those devices.

As we move forward with technology, accessibility is becoming easier to implement in web development and app development, and so we should see less and less issues as we move forward into the future.


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