|#1 People with disabilities don't use the web
For people with disabilities, the web is more than a convenience - in many ways it's a means of education, work, shopping, and communicating with others. People with disabilities rely on accessible sites - if you don't have those people visiting your site is it because you have created barriers for them?
#2 Web accessibility is too difficult for the average web designer
None of us were born knowing HTML, accessibility is simply learning a few basic principles that can best be summed up as "don't assume that everyone views your web page in the same way you do" - The purpose of our pages is to provide information - design your pages to ensure that the information isn't lost through incompatible pages.
#3 Accessible web pages take too much time to create
This is the same as saying "it takes too much time to check grammar, spelling, and proof-reading a document". Creating an accessible web page is creating a page that is interoperable, platform independent, and functional for everyone.
#4 An accessible web page is nothing more than plain text
Not true! Web accessibility isn't about making text-only pages. The guidelines generally don't say "don't do that", rather they say "here's how to do that - accessibly". The Alt tag is a good example. ALT allows you to add text to substitute for an image; to make the page accessible you add ALT text, not remove the image from the page. Accessibility isn't taking away from graphics and multimedia - it's enhancing it.
#5 Good assistive technology can solve all accessibility problems
Assistive Technology (or AT) has made tremendous strides in the past several years. Advances in technology and computers hardware and software have opened doors to opportunities for many. However; AT can't read the mind of the web page author and guess what they meant by a particular graphic - that information has to be provided. AT can only work with the information provided - accessibility is nothing more than providing the information in a format that is easily understood.
#6 Web accessibility only helps people with disabilities
To be sure, designing your web pages to meet Section 508 requirements benefits people with disabilities; accessibility also benefits many others
- Your web site can be used by latest technology such as PDA's, Internet enabled pagers and phones
- Those with slow dial-up connections (especially common in rural areas as well as outside of the U.S.)
- Those who have turned off graphics for faster page loading
Assistive Technology being used by everyone isn't something new. The first typewriter proven to have worked was built by Pellegrino Turri in 1808 for his blind friend Countess Carolina Fantoni da Fivizzono. Accessibility benefits everyone - curbside cutouts, a result of accessibility laws, are used not just by the mobility impaired but by the delivery people, mothers pushing strollers, and travelers pulling their suitcases to and from airport terminals. Closed captioning on TV was intended for people with hearing impairments. However, it's also used by people learning English or learning to read, and by bars and restaurants with television displays so that customers can follow a television broadcast despite the noise of a crowd or a band.
Accessibility can be summed up by saying that anyone, using any kind of browser, can visit any dot gov site, and get a full and complete understanding of the information contained on the site, as well as the full and complete ability to interact with the Site.