Sobre la accesibilidad y sus implicancias

27/Nov/2007 232

Continuando con el tema de la accesibilidad y su implementación en todos los medios web, me gustaría profundizarlo para que no queden dudas sobre sus alcances. Existen muchos argumentos a favor y en contra para su aplicación en un proyecto web. En mi experiencia, es un tema esencial y que no debe siquiera ser discutido su consideración, ya que es tarea nuestra quienes realizamos los sitios de estudiarlo, conocerlo y aplicarlo.

Leyendo un artículo de Lêda Spelta (psicóloga de Brasil experta en accesibilidad) me tomo la molestia de citarla, traducir y completar parte de su interesante artículo: Accesibilidad web: 7 mitos y un equívoco.

Mito 1: "La accesibilidad web es sólo para deficientes visuales"

Ellos son sólo una parte de quienes se ven perjudicados con sitios mal construídos. Accesibilidad es para quienes:

  • no ven la pantalla
  • no usan mouse
  • no usan teclado
  • no leen el texto o no saben leer
  • no escuchan el sonido
  • usan un browser diferente, o que es minoría
  • usa un computador antiguo
  • usa un computador demasiado moderno
  • tiene una conexión muy lenta
  • etc.

Por supuesto que lo primero que se nos viene a la mente… "¡Cómo cresta lo hago para todos ellos!". Pues si te acostumbraras a escribir código semántico, atendiéndote a los estándares ya estás matando 3 pájaros de un tiro. Además si sabes optimizar bien las imágenes y utilizarlas sólo cuando es estrictamente necesario, otros 4 pájaros caen con esa misma bala. Como ves, no es trabajo doble, sólo el mismo que haces pero bien hecho.

Mito 2: "En la práctica, el número de usuarios beneficiados con la accesibilidad es muy bajo"

Eso es algo lógico de pensar, pero que no puedes mesurar. La mayoría de los usuarios que conoces probablemente no cumpla con ningún tipo de deficiencia nombrado anteriormente, pero es no dice que todos quienes entren a tu sitio no lo sean. Recuerda que si publicaste algo en Internet, se lo publicas al mundo entero; cualquiera puede entrar y verlo, no sólo quienes conoces. Y cualquiera de ellos son posibles clientes.

Mito 3: "Hacer que un sitio sea accesible toma tiempo y cuesta caro"

Aquí se aplican los factores costo/beneficio. Pero, como ya fue mencionado, el diseñador/desarrollador debe estar capacitado para aplicar la accesibilidad en todos sus proyectos, a mediano rango. Este mediano rango sería estructurar un código semántico y utilizando estándares web, siempre cuidando el peso de imágenes y uso de objetos externos. Un rango alto y donde sí se requiere mayor experticia y dominio es un sitio web totalmente optimizado para ciegos, donde se utiliza una hoja de estilos diferente y se aplican otras técnicas. Y es un deber de grandes empresas (masivas y públicas) proveer este tipo de servicios a sus consumidores.

Mito 4: "Es mejor hacer un sitio especial para deficientes visuales"

¿Mejor para quién? El diseñador tendrá doble trabajo, al igual que el mantenedor de esas páginas. Deficientes estarán perjudicados, ya que lo más común es que este sitio especial esté siempre desactualizado.

Mito 5: "Un sitio accesible a deficientes visuales no es bonito"

Bueno, hay que ser consecuentes. Las personas ciegas no pueden siquiera ver el diseño que estás aplicando. Pero aún así puedes utilizar fotos, videos, gráficos, audio, etc. Basta con que utilices sus etiquetas y atributos correctamente y los lectores de pantalla podrán leerle al usuario de qué se trata la foto, por ejemplo.

Mito 6: "Mejor ir por partes: Primero construímos el sitio, luego lo hacemos accesible"

Es verdad que no podemos hacer todo al mismo tiempo y debemos priorizar. Aún así, si se construye un edificio con escaleras y luego hay que romperlas para poner rampas para sillas de ruedas es un desperdicio de tiempo y recursos. Y no queda del todo bien. En un sitio web es lo mismo, los parches son a la orden del día.

Mito 7: "No podemos hacer un sitio accesible con el tiempo y recursos que tenemos"

Como ocurre con cualquier innovación, el primer proyecto demanda tiempo y costo en capacitación, ya que necesitamos enseñar al equipo cómo se hace. Pero luego el aprendizaje queda y se aplica fluidamente en los proyectos venideros, lo que se puede ver como un valor agregado dentro del costo de los mismos.

Equívoco: "Mi sitio está enfocado a un público específico, y no me interesan otros grupos"

Normalmente cuando se afirma que un sitio está direccionado a un público específico, nos referimos que el contenido del sitio sólo tiene interés para un determinado porcentaje de usuarios. Pero esto no quiere decir que podemos alentar el interés de otros usuarios diferentes a los que teníamos en mente. Si restringimos el acceso de nuestro sitio al que juzgamos que son nuestro target, estamos en la práctica utilizando Internet para limitar nuestro público, en vez de ampliarlo.

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