The ever-increasing digital transformation occurring around us has increased the needs and demands for better web accessibility. People are using the internet to do many things today, including ordering food, booking appointments and trips, hiring people, buying items, and more.
Unfortunately, not everyone gets to benefit from this convenient digital experience.
People who live with disabilities and rely on accessibility tools for accessing the web cannot access about 90% of the commercial and public websites available today. With about 15% of the world’s population having a permanent disability, now is the time to ensure your site meets the accessibility standards.
However, accessible content is not just for those with disabilities – it also benefits individuals with slow internet connections.
Taking time and effort to learn what your users need and making your site more accessible provides you an edge over the competition. When a disabled individual comes to your site and sees that it is accessible, they will likely be loyal to it. The word-of-mouth advertising they provide can be beneficial to your site and business as a whole.
The first step is to know the issues presented by an inaccessible website. Once you know these, you can take the necessary steps to meet the accessibility requirements.
Here you can learn some effective ways to improve your website’s accessibility.
1. Structure Your Page Content Properly with HTML Headings
A website that is structured properly with the necessary HTML headings helps to improve content flow and makes it easier to understand. Generally, you should only use one H1 heading per tag. Also, your headings should be in a hierarchical order. Those with blindness or limited vision depend on the use of assistive technology, such as screen readers, which allows them to listen to the headings.
2. Include Alt Text for Images
The use of alt text will also improve your web accessibility. It helps since the text alternatives (if meaningful) will describe the visual content on your site. This is important because any visitor with cognitive disabilities or visual impairment or browsers or devices that block the images may still see some of the images you have included.
Adding alt text with the proper keyword will allow most screen readers to read the picture or image. Also, alt tags on your images increase page relevance for search engines, which helps them better understand what the web page is about. If you add images for aesthetic purposes only, alt-text is not required.
3. Create a Website That is Keyboard Friendly
You need to ensure your website can be used by those who don’t have a mouse. This means it is keyboard friendly. All the major features on the page must be accessible by the keyboard, including the pages, links, buttons, etc.
Also, many assistive technologies used today rely on keyboard-only navigation. A good way to determine if you have a keyboard-friendly site is by using it without your mouse. If it is impossible to access some of the elements present or if navigating the site is challenging, then it means there are accessibility issues that need to be corrected.
4. Keep Forms Simple
Forms are a useful tool and valuable addition to many websites. However, the form will only be able to serve its purpose if it is designed carefully. Users should find it easy to insert information. This is possible if each field has the proper labels in place.
Doing this is also a good idea for users who don’t have vision issues. It will make it easy for them to match labels to the proper option or field. This will also eliminate any issues for users of screen readers.
5. Use the Proper Amount of Color Contrast
It is necessary to find the right contrast of colors since this will impact someone’s ability to read the content on your page. This is particularly important for those who deal with certain visual disabilities (for example, color blindness).
Research has found that even average users find it challenging to read content with poor contrast, such as the light gray font on white.
You must maintain a contrast ratio of 4.5:1 between your font and background. It is possible to find tools online to check the contrast you have on your site and let users adjust the contrast for something that works for their needs.
6. Create Descriptive Link Text
The text links on your page that link text to another website or page need to accurately describe the link’s destination. This is essential since screen readers will not understand your call-to-action buttons’ intent if the text you include is “learn more” or something similar.
This means you must ensure your website links provide enough context for the user to know why the link is there. If you have a CTA, be sure you are descriptive – “Click here to find out more about affordable SEO for small businesses.”
7. Ensure Your Content Is Accessible
The content you have on your website will impact website accessibility. Be sure the content is readable and accessible. This is particularly important for dynamic content, which changes without reloading the page. If assistive tools do not know about the change, this can cause issues.
Screen readers will only read the page that it “sees” when it first lands there. This means informing the screen reader when something moves is necessary to ensure it does not miss any new content. You can add ARIA landmarks to the content to help define it clearly.
With ARIA, it is possible to improve navigation for web accessibility and allows users to move to the specific content rather than having to tab through each menu to reach the main content of your site.
When creating content, be sure to pay attention to the small details. This means explaining any acronyms you include in the content to ensure that all links have descriptive and unique anchor names and text. For users with visual or hearing impairments, be sure to include text alternatives and closed captions if you plan to use gifs or embedded videos on your website.
8. Create Clear and Consistent Navigation
If you create clear and consistent navigation across your website, visitors can easily get from one page to another. The best way to achieve this is by providing several alternatives. One example is adding a combination of search bars, breadcrumbs, menu bars, and orientation cues to provide a more accessible experience.
While this is necessary, you still need to ensure consistency through all the web pages by using consistent styling and naming and ensuring the placement of your navigation elements is identical.
9. Utilize Resizable Text Features on Your Website
Most web pages, devices, and browsers let people resize the text. This is beneficial for anyone dealing with a visual impairment.
While this is true, resizing text features may break the structure and design of your website if it is not built to support this feature.
Be sure to check this by increasing or decreasing the text size. If things are “off” after you do this, it means your site has accessibility issues.
It is also best to avoid using pixels and other absolute units for specifying the text size. Using relative sizes is a better strategy, which allows the text to scale based on content and screen sizes.
10. Include Interactive Page Elements
Adding unique buttons and links on your page that are easy to see and interactive offers a great way to improve the navigation on your site. Once you have improved navigation for website accessibility, it will increase the experience those with neurological, visual, and physical disabilities have while on your site.
11. Add Tabular Data to Tables
Using tables provides a beneficial way to display data. This is because it is much easier for users. This includes those who are using assistive technology to learn more about the data.
Be sure your tables are simple. Make sure you only put tabular data on the tables rather than lists and layouts.
Using a table for layout purposes can make it difficult for screen readers to understand the included content. They may read the content in a manner that does not coordinate with the visual order of the page. In this situation, using the CSS presentation for the page layout is a good idea.
12. Include Text Transcripts and Captions
If you include videos or audio files on your website, they must be presented uniquely to users with an auditory impairment. It is possible to use sign-language interpretation, closed captions, and even transcripts, ensuring anyone who comes to the page can understand the audio files included.
Also, when you include transcripts for the audio content, it is convenient for anyone who wants to read rather than listen to your content.
Creating an Accessible Website
As you can see, there are more than a few things you can do to improve your website’s accessibility. Be sure to keep the information here in mind, which will help you with this. We offer affordable SEO services for small businesses if you cannot handle these things on your own. Call us today to learn more.