Illustration: Backstage pass for the Internet with the text 'Access all areas'


The internet is a place that should be accessible to everyone. However, the reality is often not in line with this. Surfing the web often is an exclusive exercise, rather than inclusive. Poor accessibility means that disabled surfers have great difficulty in executing even basic tasks such as accessing informational pages on corporate, governmental or media websites. And (slightly) more advanced activities, such as filling out forms, buying online and accessing bank accounts, can become nightmarish experiences.


There are ways to make life bearable and easier for disabled surfers in particular and anyone in general. There are three things that should be done first to help people in their voyage on the web. The first is: adherence to accessibility guidelines. The second is: adherence to accessibility guidelines. And the third is: adherence to accessibility guidelines.


But that is not all. A good user experience is not ensured by adhering to guidelines only. A good user experience should cover all aspects of the human-web interaction. Providing the speech equivalent of the text presented on the websites is one of the measures that have been shown to be effective in enhancing that user experience. Speech is essential for persons with certain disabilities! This is reflected by the rapidly growing number of websites that provide such a speech facility.

This website

On this website we explore the area of speech on websites and how this links to certain themes and issues regarding accessibility guidelines. Adding speech to a website is focused on enhancing the user experience. At the same time, the speech functionality in itself may use certain mechanisms and technology (Flash, Scripting, new windows) of which those same guidelines say that use should strictly adhere to certain principles. This area, where speech and guidelines meet, is the subject that we want to explore here. If you want to contribute, we invite you to share your views with us!