Who is the internet for?

The internet is, by design, for everyone. An internet connection and a device are all that’s required to access any site on the internet. It’s up to the users of the internet, however, to bring this concept into reality. This can be achieved by making content open and accessible.

Openness

Openness on the internet is the idea of sharing your knowledge openly. If you’re working on a project, sharing each step and the decision making process behind it would go a long way to making it more open.

Why?

Just as you may find a helpful resource online, making your content open could be a useful resource for someone else. Openness also encourages collaboration. An open-source project could have many users contributing to it even if they’re not directly involved.

How?

Websites like GitHub are places for software development projects to host their code in an open source environment. You could create a website or blog where you post about anything you do, not just software development. Or you could contribute to an existing website that hosts the type of projects that you work on.

Accessibility

An accessible website fulfills the promise that the internet is for everyone. An accessible website would ideally be readable and usable by anyone regardless of their level of ability. An example of accessibility in the real world is the implementation of wheelchair ramps at building entrances.

A metal wheelchair ramp leading to the white door of a brick house

Why?

Greater accessibility makes the internet more fair to those with disabilities and makes a more streamlined experience for all. Ideally, you wouldn’t want anyone to be unable to use your website just because of their disability, so making a more accessible site only serves to increase the number of people able to use your site. A side effect of making a website more accessible to people with disabilities is that the user experience is enhanced for all other users. Just as a ramp may be easier to walk up than steep stairs, accessibility features like captions and screen readers can benefit anyone who wishes to use them, not just those who need to.

How?

Text on a website should be formatted to be readable by screen readers and images should be given alt text for screen readers to read. Any audio or video content should include captions or a transcript for those who can’t hear or those who prefer the option of text.

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