Internet Accessibility Essay

1019 Words 5 Pages
Two of the most important inventions in the last 50 years include the Internet and the World Wide Web. Over 1.96 billion people currently use the Internet around the world.

Current statistics on world Internet usage and population from the Internet World Stats Web site.

However, many of those people are unable to access the information on the Internet fully. Using the United States as an example, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2005 “among the population 15 years and older, 7.8 million people (3.4 percent) had difficulty seeing words or letters in ordinary newspaper print, and 1.8 million of these people reported being unable to see,” (3). According to the National Center for Health Statistics, in 2008 25.2 million
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with access to the Internet. The Census Bureau’s 1999 report also showed that 30 percent fewer visually impaired people use the Internet than nondisabled people. Something is keeping visually impaired people from taking advantage of all the information and services offered by the Internet. Experts believe a lack of accessibility impedes them.
Accessibility is the ability of people with handicaps or impairments to use content such as Web sites, applications, and information technology. More specifically, according to Introduction to Web Accessibility, Web accessibility means that “people can perceive, understand, navigate, and interact with the Web and they can contribute to the Web.” According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, the word “accessibility” dates back to the 1800s and combines the word “accessible” and the suffix “-ity.” The word “accessible”—first used in the 1400s—means “affording access.” “Access” has several historical meanings including “habit or power of getting of getting into the presence of (someone or something)” from the 1300s, and “an entrance” from the 1600s. The suffix “-ity” means “condition or quality of being.” Therefore “accessibility” is the “condition [of] being affording access” or (approximately) the “condition [of] having the power to get into the presence of someone or something.” An inaccessible Web site denies visually impaired users

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