What is accessibility?

Accessibility is the process of tailoring all of the individual and collective components of programs, courses, and activities at Purchase College so they can be available to as many people as possible, regardless of individual characteristics such as age, stature, or existing disabilities. Accessibility encompasses educational, electronic, and physical access to campus facilities. 

Anyone can acquire a disability

Another aspect of disability to consider is that any one of us could acquire a disability at any moment in time. If you don’t have a disability now, chances are that you’ll acquire one eventually, assuming that you live to an old age. People tend to lose physical abilities as they age, in all categories: vision, hearing, mobility, cognition, and so on.

Accessibility Benefits a Wide Variety of People

It’s true that when you design with accessibility in mind, you have to think specifically about people with disabilities, but the benefits of accessibility extend far beyond just people with disabilities. The same principles that make a web site good for people with disabilities also make it good for people on mobile devices, and for people who access web sites on different brands of browsers, or on different brands of computers, or on older browsers or computers. Accessible web sites are easier for search engines to index and catalog, making the sites easier for everyone to find, not just people with disabilities. Accessible web sites are also better for people who are aging who may be losing their eyesight or their hearing or their mobility or their cognition.

Disabilities are a size-able minority

Also, don’t be too quick to dismiss a group of people just because they’re a minority. People with disabilities make up about 20% of the population at any given time. Not all of those disabilities affect a person’s ability to use the internet (reliable statistics for that are hard to find), but a portion of that 20% will face some sort of challenge when using a computer. Besides, accessibility isn’t something that’s optional or just kind of nice for people with disabilities. Accessibility is necessary and non-negotiable. Without accessibility, people with disabilities can’t use web sites, and that can have a dramatically negative impact in their lives.