With These 12 Simple Tips, You Can Improve the Accessibility of Your WebsiteOctober 24, 2022
Among the billions of netizens worldwide, it is estimated that more than 15% have some form of disability. Besides, many internet users may suffer from debilitating injuries that usually make it difficult for them to move or browse the internet. And therefore, any content shared online must be checked for accessibility to ensure a great user experience for everyone visiting the website.
Suppose you wish to build an accessible website or you have an existing website that needs to be improved for better accessibility. In that case, the first step is finding a knowledgeable accessibility company. Given the nuances and high litigiousness of ADA compliance, revamping your website for accessibility can be an overwhelming exercise. Navigating the complex path of digital accessibility needs knowledge and skill, and partnering with an experienced advocate can be helpful for your business.
Reasons to Improve Web Accessibility
- Social Impact – Making your website accessible to people with disabilities is socially responsible. Consumers are proud to associate with brands that are proactive about social issues. Suppose your website enables all users to equally enjoy the benefits of using the internet. In that case, it will help your brand make the right social impact.
- Economic Opportunity – Accessible websites garner the trust and goodwill of users more than others. Not only consumers with disabilities but all users prefer to associate with brands that make efforts to be inclusive and socially responsible. Creating accessible websites enables your brand to reach a larger audience creating more significant economic opportunities.
- Legal Compliance – Every country has its own accessibility regulations for online content. Failing to comply with accessibility laws of the land could raise the risk of penalties and civil action. Besides, if people with disabilities cannot access critical information due to inaccessibility on your website, they may take legal action.
The goal of web accessibility is to remove the barriers to knowledge with technology and enable everyone to access, navigate, and understand the content on the internet. Let’s look at twelve practical tips to help you create and maintain an accessible website.
- Keyboard Navigation – Your website should be entirely accessible without using a mouse, and users should be able to navigate through the website using the Tab key on their keyboard. Websites that are fully accessible by keyboards are helpful for specific users with mobility and motor-skill disabilities. They can skip to applicable sections on your websites without difficulty.
- Add Alt Text – Visually impaired users can consume text using screen-reading software. Still, they will not be able to view the images on your website. Remember to add the appropriate alt text to all the images on your page. Give an accurate image description to help all users understand the image. Good alt text also helps with SEO and boosts your search engine rankings.
- Make Forms Accessible – All the forms you use on your website should be accessible with proper labelling and careful design. Someone who is not visually impaired can read the labels. Still, people using screen readers may not be able to understand your forms correctly unless you make them forms accessible.
- Organize Your Content with Headers – Structure your content with headers and categories to help users effortlessly understand the flow. You can achieve this by organizing your content with headers, sub-headers, and bullet points.
- Only Use Tables When Necessary – Tables are a great way to showcase your content. Still, table formats confuse screen readers and make it difficult for visually impaired users to understand the content. Even when you do use tables, ensure that proper headers are given for each row and column. Another alternative could be to use a CSS presentation.
- Make Your Website Mobile Friendly – People tend to favour their handheld devices more than laptops or computers in the digital age. Suppose your website is accessible and optimized for mobile phone screens. In that case, you will likely get more traffic and conversions. Search engines like Google also rank mobile-friendly websites higher in their search results.
- Have an Adjustable Font Size – Not all users may be comfortable with your chosen font size. Offer your website users the chance to adjust the font size without compromising the page layout. It will help visually impaired users read your website’s content without trouble.
- Confirm Your Website Accessibility – To ensure that your website is accessible to all users, it is necessary to check your website for all kinds of accessibility issues before it goes live. There is numerous accessibility checker software available on the internet; test your website using one software to confirm accessibility on your website.
- Include Captions & Text Transcripts – Audio and video files should always be accompanied by captions and text transcripts. Closed captions, transcripts, and sign-language interpretation are also helpful for users with auditory impairments to understand audio/video content.
- Use Proper Colour Contrast Ratios – Those with colour blindness may find it challenging to work with improper colour contrast ratios, especially if the colour conflict is among the text colour and backgrounds. WCAG recommends a colour contrast ratio of 4.5:1.
- Offer Different CAPTCHA Options – If you wish to use CAPTCHA to prevent spam form fills. Still, it may not be accessible to visually impaired users as it involves interpreting unusual visual information. It is always best to offer different CAPTCHA options to all users.
- Use Descriptive Link Text – When it comes to communicating the intent of CTA buttons, screen readers cannot offer the correct context. Ensure that website links include enough context for a screen reader to communicate their purpose.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Emilie Brown works with the Digital Marketing team at PREP, an AI-based remediation software that enables businesses to create WCAG and ADA compliant PDFs in minutes. Her approach and methodology is simple, concise and to-the-point and connects with readers seeking for solution-driven content on topics related to accessibility and remediation. Apart from her time at work, she loves to spend time with her dog, volunteer and play her guitar.