An accessible website is compatible with the assistive technologies used by people with disabilities. Dreamweaver MX 2004 automates many elements of creating accessible sites and prompts designers to provide information when necessary. It has also been modified to provide better keyboard access and to work with screen readers. (From the book ASP Web Development with Macromedia Dreamweaver MX 2004 by Rachel Andrew et al., Apress, 2004, ISBN: 1590593499.)
Accessibility and Dreamweaver MX 2004 - Defining Disabilities (Page 3 of 11 )
A 1997 report by the U.S. Census Bureau categorizes 19.6 percent of the United States population as having some sort of disability. This percentage is generally considered to be consistent with worldwide statistics. Within the broader category of disability are the following subcategories:
Each of these subcategories includes a range of ability. For example, visual impairments include low vision, colorblindness, and blindness. The tools and techniques addressing issues for people who are blind are very different from those that address issues for people who are colorblind.
Perhaps the most diverse category is that of cognitive impairments. This group includes people with seizure disorders as well as people with learning or developmental disabilities. Building sites that are accessible to people with cognitive disabilities can be a complex task because the obstacles to comprehension often lie in the content as well as in the page design.
Disability categories can overlap and might also include temporary disabilities. For example, someone with a broken wrist may have difficulty using a mouse but still needs access to the web to meet day-to-day job requirements.
It is also important to keep in mind that as people get older, almost everyone will face a disability of some kind. Although nearly 20 percent of the total U.S. population has a disability, as the population ages, the proportion of people with disabilities grows higher (see Table 3-1). In fact, almost 75 percent of the population over the age of 80 has a disability. Thus, accessibility is not just about opening doors; it is about keeping them open. Accessibility allows people to maintain a level of independence that age might otherwise make difficult.
Table 3-1. Disability Statistics in an Aging Population