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Operability—Does the Website Work?

WCAG 2.0 Principles: Operable

With more than 2 billion Internet users worldwide, websites that are inoperable to audiences are missing out. Operability—or more fundamentally “does the website work?”—should be a top priority, irrespective of user capability. It’s easy to understand why; an inoperable website will leave users dissatisfied, thereby decreasing user retention and making it difficult to attract new customers. Operability is essential to survival.

When considering operability for individuals with disabilities, it is crucial that websites should be navigable without the use of a mouse. Keyboard-friendly websites are available to users who possess motor disabilities and dexterity issues. These websites allow users with those disabilities to tab to links and form elements, scroll through options, and invoke keyboard shortcuts to activate components. However, many websites that provide keyboard shortcuts for common tasks can present difficulties to screen reader users whose assistive technologies (AT) share the same shortcuts. Operability must be present, not only for individual AT, but in conjunction with other AT as well. Not prioritizing operability can have serious drawbacks for companies, including lawsuits, loss of customers, and loss of revenue.