The goal of every website is to attract as much traffic as possible, yet not every website owner will make sure everyone can use their site. Only in the United States, millions of users rely on websites being accessible. Not providing them with that access can lead to incredibly high fines and losing a valuable percentage of your target audience for good.
Need a hand with creating an #accessible #website? In this article, read 7 easy #steps that will help you reach that.
Luckily, the great thing about accessible websites is that they’re not complicated to create. You will need to understand the accessibility issues your website is showing. Take the necessary steps to avoid these mistakes, and have an inclusive website for all potential clients.
This article will talk about seven steps that will lead you to have an accessible website. Also, including all the vital information you need to be aware of during the process.
1. Your Content Must Be Easily Accessible
As much as it sounds simple, there is probably plenty of content on your website which is not accessible to all of your users, especially if you have dynamic content on your site. Having dynamic content on your website means your content can change, but the page doesn’t have to reload for that to happen.
When it comes to users with limitations or disabilities, this will result in their screen readers ”reading” only the first content that appears. Leaving them further without the vital information you have on your site for your other users. The best way to solve this potential confusion would be to use ARIA landmarks that add tags to your dynamic content. Also, notify your users the content will change.
This way, you would ensure they have a seamless experience on your website. If you’re considering using ARIA, it is also beneficial with navigation as it allows users to skip to the content part they are interested in. When talking about web development accessibility, this is one of the solutions that would incredibly improve the usage of your website.
2. Your Website Needs to Be Keyboard-friendly
For your website to be considered accessible, it will need to function without a mouse. The reason for that is the majority of assistive technologies rely on keyboard-only navigation. Also, this means that all of your significant features will need to be accessible via keyboard only.
From accessing all your website pages to links and content, the most common navigating way is with the Tab key. Further, this allows the users to jump between the areas on your page that have the so-called ‘keyboard focus.’ These arias include links, call-to-action buttons, and forms. A goal of every website owner should be that all of their content can be accessed using the Tab key.
The significant part about this step is that it’s pretty simple to test out. You can pretend to be one of the users of your website and try to use content and navigate through the site without using your mouse. If you notice that you cannot access certain page elements, it should go on your list of accessibilities issues.
3. All Your Images Need to Have Alt Text
If you ever went through the ADA requirements for websites, you understand why adding alt text on your website images is crucial.
In short, if your image doesn’t have a textual alternative, it is not accessible for users with visual limitations or disabilities. That’s why it’s vital that the next time you insert multimedia to a news article on your blog or page you’ve just built, you add alt text for every added image as well.
Your alt text doesn’t have to be too detailed. It can be a simple piece of simple information. For instance, if you’re inserting a photo of a green plant into your article, your alt text can say ‘photo of a green plant.’ The idea is to transmit information. Suppose you can do it with fewer words—the better.
By giving context to your website users, you add more details to what you communicate to them.
The alternative text also serves as a replacement for the image which failed to upload. So, it’s wise to implement your optimization strategy for more than just one reason when it comes to your optimization strategy. Make sure your alt text includes important keywords, but don’t add them on every image if it doesn’t relate to the image in any way.
4. Your Website Colors Should Be Chosen Wisely
Another essential item on the ADA requirements for websites lists colors. Talking about colors has a variety of issues for users that have visual limitations and disabilities. After all, all of us don’t perceive colors in the same way, so the color scheme on your website needs to provide good contrast.
Choosing wisely your colors means you will need to ensure every user can easily distinguish between numerous elements on your page.
The text needs to stand out against the background. Meaning that you need to contrast the color of your text with the color of your background. Usually, websites will have a dark color against a light one to ensure everyone can easily use the content.
For example, if you opt for a green color scheme, you shouldn’t use shades too similar in hue and saturation. Further, this will minimize the contrast between the shades and create confusion. However, if you are unsure about your color scheme, it won’t represent the problem. You can use many online tools to test color combinations and find the perfect one for your website.
5. Use Headers and Headings on Every Page
The structure of your website is vital for every single aspect of it. You will need to structure the pages on your website to deliver the messages you want to your target audience.
Your web developers will need to follow that structure to code. However, it’s only natural that your users expect the perfect design of your website content. Simply put, if it takes them too long to find something, it’s not worth their effort and time.
The most crucial details on your website are delivered to your target audience in textual form.
That’s why you will need to make your content accessible by using the heading structure. By using headers throughout your text, your users will not only easily understand and digest the information, but you will also improve the text flow.
When talking about screen readers, having clear headers will make it easier to interpret your pages. Going back to the navigation we mentioned above, a great header structure ensures an excellent navigation experience for users with limitations and disabilities.
6. Having Accessible Forms on Your Website
You might easily forget that you have a signup form on your home page. Or even a structure for your website visitors to receive the latest news and updates in your focus area. Still, these elements are equally important if you wish to have an accessible website. As most of the websites use forms, they will need to be accessible by everyone.
Also, this means you will need to design it very carefully. Each field of your form will need to be clearly labeled, and you should aim to place the label adjacent to the corresponding fields.
A person without sight limitations or disabilities will seamlessly match the title to the respective area. But that’s not the case with users who are using a screen-reader.
Ensure you provide self-explanatory instructions and all the information so your users can understand what you expect them to input. If your website is in WordPress, you can even use their plugin, designed to focus on accessibility.
7. Using Resizable Text Which Won’t Break Your Website
The majority of devices and browsers will allow users to resize text, which is helpful for those with visual limitations. However, you will need to have a website built to support this option. Or resizing text could break your web design and make it even more complicated for your users to interact with your website.
Make sure you avoid absolute units like specifying text size using pixels. It’s much better if you use relative sizes as they will enable the text to scale and not affect your design or make it even harder for your users to use your content. As this is not as simple as adding a header or two in your latest blog article, you should consider having a web developer looking into this for you.
Not knowing how to use resizable text might damage the rest of your website, and you will use both time and money to fix it.
Regardless of where the location of your company is, you will find excellent options for web development in New York and let the professionals implement this step for you. At the same time, you focus on every other step of having an accessible site and overseeing the entire process.