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Web accessibility: Making your website accessible to everyone

27 January, 2023
10 min
Website accessibility

When was the last time you landed on a website and became frustrated because it was hard to use? If you think back to these, chances are you’ve encountered some type of web inaccessibility.

An accessible website is one that is created so that everyone may use it without difficulty. Ease of use is the foundation for developing accessible designs, particularly for handicapped or disabled users.

So, in this article, we’ll show you how to create a beautiful, functional website that’s accessible to everyone and works flawlessly on all browsers and devices.

What exactly is web accessibility, and why is it necessary?

Website accessibility relates to how people with disabilities can use a website. Essentially, web accessibility enables people with disabilities to have equal opportunities in the online world.

Web accessibility has business benefits as well, by making your site accessible to everyone, your products and services get to as many people as possible. Furthermore, good website accessibility will improve your website’s SEO as Google’s algorithm takes into account the solid structure that needs to be in place for accessibility.

If your business does not embrace web accessibility, you risk alienating a segment of the population and losing out on many prospective clients. Furthermore it can generate a more favourable company image, and reduce legal risks in countries with explicit digital accessibility requirements.

How do you test the accessibility of your web design?

Before we get into advice and methods for designing an accessible website, it’s critical to understand how to assess the current state of your platform. Let’s explore some of the more popular solutions to check a site’s accessibility.

Online accessibility checker.

This is one of the quickest ways to check the accessibility of your website. Such tools can accomplish this by ensuring compliance with accessibility criteria such as the WCAG.

In most cases, all you need to do is provide the URL of the site you want to review and let the platform handle the rest. The platform will then provide a report highlighting any faults or potential issues with the accessibility on that page.

Some example tools are:

Installing a browser extension for accessibility.

Another alternative is to download and install a web browser plugin that will check for faults automatically. This is typically accomplished by giving a set of parameters to improve the accessibility of HTML elements.

Hire a web accessibility expert.

This is a great option those who are looking to make accessibility a fundamental feature of their platform. A web accessibility professional can assist you with everything from online design to website upkeep, including finding and correcting any accessibility issues.

What steps can you take to improve web design accessibility?

You can enhance the experience for all users, including differently-abled visitors if you keep a few things in mind during the web-building process. Here are some helpful hints for making your website more accessible.

1. Alt attributes

When using photos on your website, make sure to include alternative attributes that explain the image. These properties, often known as alt tags, give supplementary text when a picture cannot be seen.

Another advantage is that alt text might help your site rank higher in search engines. You can use it to include frequently searched key terms related to your photographs.

2. Impactful colour contrast

If the colour contrast is low, some people may have difficulties viewing text. As a result, it is advisable to choose colours with a high contrast ratio that will make the text easier to read. It’s also a good idea to add white borders to help people differentiate between content sections.

3. Full keyboard navigation

Keyboard accessibility is one of the pillars of an accessible website. This is due to the fact that many assistive technologies rely on keyboard-only operations.

As a result, you should make sure that users can navigate and view your site using simply a keyboard. This usually entails using the Tab key to engage with elements such as links and buttons.

4. Logical heading

Heading tags (H1, H2, H3 etc.) demonstrate the structure of content on a page so that readers can understand the contents logical order and importance. An H1 should be reserved for the main title of an article, then H2 for the most important headings, then the priority cascades down to H3 and onwards.

Clear headings can aid screen readers in better understanding and interpreting your content. In addition, headers will offer your text a logical structure and flow.

5. Video captions

Provide captions for videos to make them accessible to users who are deaf or hard of hearing. You can also provide transcripts of videos for users who prefer to read the content. Youtube has a great feature called closed captions to automatically add subtitles to any video in any language.

6. Improve the readability of your content

Use clear and simple language, break up text into short paragraphs, and use headings and lists to organize content. This will make it easier for users with cognitive disabilities to understand your content. Tools like Grammarly can help with this.

7. Provide options for customization

Allow users to customize the look and feel of your website, such as increasing font size or changing the background color. This will make it easier for users with visual impairments to navigate your website. A simple plugin we love here at Blue Llama is called UserWay which automatically adds these features to your website.

8. Make sure your website is mobile-friendly

It is a given these days that your website should be optimized for mobile devices but this will make it easier for users with motor disabilities to navigate using a touchscreen. Don’t can links and buttons too small and make the text on these super useful.

Key takeaway

Everyone, regardless of conditions or capabilities, should be able to access the web and it’s the responsibility of your web designer to remove whatever barriers may lead to a poor browsing experience.

Designers, developers, content writers, and creators must collaborate and work with accessibility best practice to produce to create the best outcomes. Even though designing an accessible website can be daunting, following those guidelines results in a better site experience for all users.

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Phil de Gruchy

Phil is the owner of Blue Llama, a digital agency in Jersey, Channel Islands. He has worked in digital for most of his career and has a wide knowledge of UX, web and app design and digital marketing.