1.1 Introduction

Two women in an office looking at a computer monitor while one draws on a touch-pad input device

The need to create accessible websites has been growing over the past couple of decades, however, many web developers still lack the knowledge and skills needed to make their website creations accessible to persons with disabilities. Commercial training in accessible website development has been available for some time, but only now are universities and colleges beginning to offer limited training in this area.

Accessible website features are a lot like many disabilities: they are often hidden. In many cases, an accessible website looks exactly like an inaccessible website... the things that make it truly accessible are invisible to the naked eye (or ear, or mouse!).

Given the competitive nature of the website development industry and the current reality that many website developers are self-taught, most developers are going to invest their time and effort in learning the technologies that are in most demand — and where their skills can be easily displayed in a portfolio of designs. Most likely, accessibility has not been on the top of their professional development list.

The introduction of legislation such as Ontario's Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation (IASR) may change this, particularly as large organizations in the public and private sector begin to seek out web developers with accessibility training to create or retrofit their websites.