The Centre for Disease Control (CDC) reports that about 25% of American adults live with a disability. Globally, the World Health Organization (WHO) puts this number at 15%. This is an overwhelmingly huge population that you cannot just ignore as a marketer. If you tap into it through a more accessible website, you might significantly increase profitability. But what does website accessibility mean, anyway?
The kind of accessibility we are looking into is one that makes it easy for anyone, including people with disabilities to easily access, navigate, or even communicate with your website. To make this possible, you need to design tools, interfaces, and any other helpful feature that will make it easier for anyone to use your website.
In order to achieve this kind of usability on your website, you need to put into consideration various human attributes such as auditory, physical, neurological, cognitive, and visual wellbeing.
Just to put into perspective the importance of this matter, it is reported that in 2019, there were 2,256 lawsuits involving website-accessibility in the USA. So how can you make your website more accessible? Here are some essential tips:
First things First: Begin with Accessibility in Mind
Even before you think of the right tools and features to incorporate in your website, think of total inclusivity in your website. This will give you an opportunity to explore available design tools that will make accessibility easier. The bottom line here is that your website needs to be as user-friendly as possible.
Your target audience Determines Everything
If, for instance, you are designing a website aimed at offering government services to the general public, you will have no choice but consider everyone and anyone that might need such services. This essentially means that you must plan with long term needs in mind. This website will serve older people, people with special needs and so much more. Therefore, your design needs will need to be more inclusive.
This also happens to an e-commerce website. In case your e-commerce site is aimed at product targeting people with special needs, you must as well put this into consideration.
Pair Images with Alternative Text
Alternative text helps to give descriptions to images within your text. This is a good approach to make them useful, particularly to visually impaired persons. People with visual disabilities rely on screen readers. Considering that such technologies still can’t translate text, it is important that the descriptions you put on your screen are as clear as possible. Consider both short-form descriptions and long-form tags.
Work With Appropriate Colors
One recommended approach is to use contrasting colors. You can combine them for the foreground and the background to create easy visibility among all components such as text, images, headers, and so on. Combine colors such as yellow on black or black and white. By all means, avoid using dull colors if you aim to have the best visibility for your website. Remember, your main aim is to make your website completely accessible to a wide population.
Allow Font Enlargement
This would be one of the basic approaches to give to your website and one of the easiest to implement as well. Font enlargement allows the user to get the font to the size that is most suitable for their use. A consideration to put in mind, however, is that the text doesn’t break. In other words, ensure it remains readable even after enlarging to a considerably large size.
Any Form Should Allow Easy Accessibility
This is particularly important for websites where the user is required to fill in details. Give the forms distinct features so that the right information is captured within the right space. For instance, if the user needs to fill in their name, have a way where they can either fill in their full name or different boxes for First Name, Middle Name, and so on. Also, ensure that there is a difference between figures, words, symbols, and so on.
Offer Alternative to Audio and Video Content
Video, podcasts, and images are part and parcel of modern website components. In case such content is part of your site, provide a readable alternative such as transcripts in both author and video. Captions also help to make the content for user-friendly. Research indicates that video that provides captions, high-quality audio, and visuals attract higher views. This tactic can also be applied in developing content for more accessibility on the web.
Make Your Website Keyboard-Friendly
Can your website function without the mouse? That’s what we mean by making it keyboard-friendly. Most assistive technologies count on keyboard abilities to help their users. After all, you can have shortcuts on your keyboard without necessarily using the mouse.
The Tab key is a good place to start. It can help navigate to various areas quickly. If you are able to have all the content on your website accessible through the Tab, then you will make a good score.
In addition, you can test this on your own by accessing the website without a mouse. How well it responds will be a good indicator of general accessibility by other users.
Headers Help To Improve Readability
Your number one goal is to have your content become useful to as many people as possible. This refers to the way you structure your content so that just about anyone is comfortable accessing it. In this regard, experts from Brisbane SEO argue that the proper structure of your content is key.
In fact, the structure isn’t necessarily helpful to people with special needs but to the general visitors of your website. Use Headers available through various formatting tools to help you align your content suitably. Use the available H1, H2, H3 among others to give your content a good presentation.
Simplify tables or avoid them altogether
Tables simplify data consumption, especially when they are formatted in the correct way. They deliver precise information in understandable even for people using assistive technology. This being the case ensures you make use of tables only when the information demands so.
If you can avoid using tables for content that could be done in lists, it will work better. Try other options unless it is absolutely necessary to pass the information through tables.
Provide Several Alternatives of Communication
The endpoint of information on your website should be enhancing some form of communication. Whether you are sending informative pieces or running an e-commerce website, the end game is to interact with the person on the other end. Therefore, communication through other means such as voice calls should be encouraged. This would mean keeping open channels of communication that quickly offer customer support services where necessary.
Avoid Automatic Media and Navigation
Sounds from a website can get confusing, especially when you can’t figure out exactly where they are coming from. Sometimes you just want to close down the sound but you have no idea where it comes from. The confusion is even higher for people that have challenges with sight, sound, or cognition. Avoid them if you can.
The world is growing more accommodative and everyone deserves to be brought on board. Explore as many ways to bring onboard people with various impairments. It’s not only good for business but also for humanity in general. It’s also a good way of growth.