How Software Developers Make the Internet Accessible for Everyone
The internet should be accessible to everyone. This is one of our deeply held beliefs at Launch Academy, and it’s why our curriculum includes training in standards compliance and accessibility standards.
Companies are finally recognizing diversity and inclusion as necessary for long-term, sustained success. As employers shift their hiring requirements and seek accessibility-focused developers, computer programming communities are reprioritizing accessibility standards in their work.
Keep reading to explore the finer points of standards compliance and accessibility standards, and learn why knowing these standards is imperative for our coding academy graduates!
Standards Compliance and Accessibility
Since the advent of the World Wide Web, developers have embraced the philosophy that information should be accessible to everyone, everywhere, at all times.
Implementing and maintaining that philosophy isn’t always easy. But as professionals who contribute to the ever-expanding information highway, we are the first line of defense for standards compliance and accessibility.
When the internet was founded, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) was a standards body responsible for defining how every web page should be built. W3C’s web standards ensure that every browser, blog, search engine, and software provides a consistent, connected web experience.
- HTML, which determines the structure of the information
- CSS, which determines the aesthetics of the page
W3C’s web standards also provide guidance for:
- Valid RSS
- Device APIs
- Object embedding
- Script embedding
- Proper character encoding
- Size optimization
- Download speed optimization
Accessibility standards are a critical subcategory of W3C’s web standards. Hearing and sighted individuals experience the internet very differently than individuals without those senses, and accessibility standards are designed to optimize web useability for all people, regardless of ability.
Accessibility standards are designed to optimize web useability for all people, regardless of ability.
- Including video captions and image ALT tags that describe visual information to accommodate users with low vision, partial sight, legal blindness, and total blindness
- Utilizing high-contrast visuals that accommodate color blindness
- Designing navigation items that accommodate dexterity challenges, such as difficulty using a mouse or keyboard
There are countless opportunities to implement accessibility solutions, effectively removing the barriers to communication and interaction. An accessible internet is a better internet—for everyone.
Practical Benefits of Prioritizing Standards Compliance and Accessibility
Many organizations have their own accessibility requirements, but W3C’s standards are the best-known best practices for accessibility adherence. Unfortunately, not all software developers check their work against accessibility standards.
At Launch Academy, we believe accessibility matters from an ethical standpoint and should inform how a software engineer designs and builds and develops. But accessibility standards are also pragmatically sound, as we’re about to show you.
We believe accessibility matters from an ethical standpoint and should inform how a software engineer designs and builds and develops.
Accessibility compliance ensures predictability
The structure of accessible websites ensures a predictable experience across browsers. If a site lacks accessibility, you may find that it works beautifully on one browser but barely functions on another. When you structure your markup for predictability, you empower all people with equitable access to content.
Accessibility compliance supports search
From Google to ChatGPT, search engines prefer accessible web pages and applications. These crawlers can more easily consume and interpret content that adheres to accessibility standards, increasing the odds of your content surfacing to top search positions and reaching a broader audience.
Accessibility compliance empowers SEO
When AI models like ChatGPT scour the web for information to serve you, accessibility plays a key role in determining what’s most helpful. In this regard, accessibility plays well with SEO. Along with keywords and responsiveness, accessibility practices make sites and applications easier to navigate, more enjoyable to use, and simpler to search.
Standards-Based and Accessibility-Conscious
Launch Academy is committed to helping every student find a fulfilling career as a software developer. And lucrative computer programming jobs require at least a baseline comprehension of web and accessibility standards.
Our coding academy teaches standards compliance and accessibility standards throughout the program, with special emphasis on standards during the design curriculum. When you graduate from Launch Academy, you won’t just be trained to code; you’ll know how to code for everyone.
New enrollment opens soon! Get the syllabus and learn more.