We Believe in Web Universality and We Make it Reality

The power of the Web is in its universality. Access by everyone regardless of disability is an essential aspect.

Tim Berners-Lee

Internet Universality

The authentic Internet universality will only be achieved when everyone’s right to access and the contents’ free use will be guaranteed in a fair way, not depending on the technical equipment used, on personal choices or specific needs and different abilities of each user.

At CESIE, we deeply believe in this ultimate programme, wonderfully described by Tim Berners-Lee’s words: we believe the Web and its contents have to be accessible and usable by everyone and we commit so that our website abides by and implements these principles.

Nowadays, the access to the cultural, informative, recreational and educational supply is precluded to the 20% of the worldwide population, especially limiting the opportunities of those with physical, walking or mental difficulties, which turn into disabilities when new obstacles prevent them from entering the actual technological and organisational models.

This is why we think it is essential that the design of our Website is made to break down the barriers to access, reducing the asymmetry between the users in their use of the contents.

Goals

The barriers that prevent those with different abilities to access the World Wide Web are effectively removed, while designing our Website, we closely abided by the national and international guidelines on accessibility to e-contents. Our task is being in accordance with international standards, like the US Government 508 and the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) – W3C Recommendation.

We know very well that applying these rules cannot be done mechanically: this is why, at CESIE, we ensure that our website developers are a strongly aware of the problems of the contents accessibility. Independently from used languages and tools, our Visibility and Communication Office is forefront committed so that CESIE Website reaches this goal: being accessible to everyone who wants to use it, avoiding all types of discrimination.

We are aware of the big difficulties that people with different abilities have to face when they approach the Web. Our Visibility and Communication Office wants to know the needs and difficulties of the users that it wants to reach; that is the only way to make a detailed plan of our site according to its accessibility.

Usability

At CESIE, we want our website to satisfy the universally known usability requirements; a usable website is one that can be used simply and quickly by every user, giving fast access to available resources and information.

Therefore, a usable website has to:

  • aim at giving information easily without giving up on complete, clear and detailed content;
  • offer simple and effective navigation which allows all the users navigate easily and find information using time and ways suitable for their own needs and abilities;
  • provide service and information that satisfy the final users expectations and that are relevant to the site and the established communication strategies.

Designing a website following its usability rules makes a clear and browsable site, with great advantage for all of the users. Anyhow, this is not enough to guarantee the immediate accessibility to all the site’s contents. Hence, during the designing phase, the theoretical rules on usability must be combined with the practices and techniques connected to the accessibility of the contents.

Accessibility

To make a website accessible to every type of user, it is necessary that, beside the usability standards mentioned before, also practical and technical standards of accessibility are applied. Knowing and applying these standards implies the need of following the guidelines presented with the initiative by the World Wide Web Consortium.

What we pledge to achieve at CESIE, through the Visibility and Communication Office, is to make sure that our website developers basically learn to think and, as a result, to design and make the site work with the final goal of making it universally accessible and usable.

Conclusions

At CESIE, all our choices on the realisation of the web pages are guided by a specific philosophy: making products that are accessible to everyone.

Images, graphics and videos found in our website are put there with a logical method that also allows people with special needs perceive and access all the elements available on our pages. The multimedia material that is integral part of CESIE website can be found together with optional information to describe its function, so that no one will feel excluded and can easily use it depending on his/her inclinations and needs.

Following the usability standards and the accessibility rules means creating websites that, not only have an attractive design and full content, but are also accessible to all users. This is CESIE philosophy that we constantly put into practice in the Visibility and Communication Office.

Closing Remarks

It is our duty to specify that the tools used to verify the formal accuracy of CESIE website code doesn’t immediately guarantee the usability and accessibility to this website: hence, it is necessary to have a constant and careful human control.

For this reason, in spite of the attention we put into the creation of our website and the various tests our specialists run, it is not possible to be absolutely sure that some of our pages are not totally accessible to some users.

We apologise in advance and we ask you to point out possible accessibility faults to the e-mail address alberto.provenzano@cesie.org; we will make sure to solve them as quickly as possible.