digital media access group
...excellent accessibility research and consultancy
This is a archived version of the DMAG website, but the information remains for reference. Please visit the new website for updated information.
It is clear to the Digital Media Access Group that accessibility represents more than helping disabled people access information (in this case on the Internet) - there is a strong business case for considering accessible design. There are groups of people who have physical and cognitive characteristics which can effectively render them disabled - but they would never class themselves as such. The elderly represent one group to which this applies. This group of people is a potentially huge market to tap into for companies, and should not be marginalised.
Additionally, accessible design ensures websites are easier to use with browsing technologies that are less than optimal, such as for users with low bandwidth Internet connections or older browsers. It also helps to cater for browsing with newer, 'mobile Internet' devices such as WAP phones and Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs), which also have limitations in, for example, screen size and resolution.
Furthermore, the Group strongly believes that improving accessibility also increases usability - and hence economic potential - of web sites for all users. We try to approach accessibility in a holistic way and demonstrate to companies that, in addition to making things easier for disabled people and conforming to legislation, there are many benefits of accessible design. We are conscious that recent changes to legislation in the UK, USA and elsewhere are present as a driver to ensure that organisations take the issues seriously.
We must stress that we do not see creative, innovative and visually pleasing design as being mutually exclusive to usable and accessible design. Instead, we believe that designers should design for the users of their sites, whoever they may be. We want to work with others to minimise exclusion while pushing forward the Web to its true potential as the most exciting medium for communication available to us.