9.3. Introduction to Disabilities

One of the reasons developers find testing/developing for accessibility hard is because they are unfamiliar with disabilities. The best way to understand accessibility issues is to work with someone who has special needs, and learn how they work with their respective assistive technologies. It's also a good idea to become familiar with the common types of disabilities that certain accessibility elements are targeted for.

The word disability is defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 as "a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities." Some developers shy away from using this word, and make uncomfortable situations by substituting other words such as "handicapped" or "handicappable." In most situations the word disability is acceptable.

9.3.1. Visual Disabilities

When most developers think about creating accessible websites they think of blindness because the web is visual, right? A developer new to accessibility may only think about total blindness, but there are a few different visual disabilities that developers should be aware of. Studies show that roughly 10 percent of adults in the United States have vision trouble. Vision trouble can be low vision due to age, color blindness, total blindness, and a few more.

9.3.1.1. Color Blindness

Color blindness is the inability to distinguish between colors. Most commonly color blindness is genetic, but may occur because of damage to the optical ...

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