Website accessibility has become the need of the hour for any business. If you have a digital presence, you must ensure that it is accessible to people with disabilities. Making a website ADA compliant is beneficial to the company in many ways. Although making a website used to cost a lot of time and money because one needed to hire developers, it is not so anymore. With the advancement of software technology, you can make your website accessible very easily.
However, if you still want to take care of things the old school way to make your website accessible, these are a few aspects that you must pay special attention to.
The navigation of a website is not only an essential part of the user experience on your website, but it is also necessary for accessibility. Most people with disabilities rely on the use of a keyboard to navigate through a website. They use the tab key to move through the menu, content, and other elements of a website. Navigation through the tab key is also essential for the use of assistive technologies, such as screen readers. That’s why it is necessary to place digital landmarks while coding your website. These landmarks will allow the screen readers and other assistive input devices to interact with the navigation to improve the user experience. They will also help in making the navigation act logically and predictably.
A properly structured content improves the user experience for people with or without disabilities. Assistive technologies can scan the content and relay the information in a way that makes it easier for a person to understand it. A few essential elements of web content structure are:
- Titles must be unique and relevant to the information. It will ensure that the user knows that the link is related to the content.
- Headings are an efficient way to divide the content into topics. The headings should be marked appropriately to help a user navigate through the matter. It is prudent to list the headings after the introduction so that the user can jump between the content.
- You should use numbers or bullets for lists instead of symbols, or it might get confusing for the person using a screen reader.
Text is a necessary consideration for the visually impaired. More than 7 million Americans suffer from vision-related problems other than blindness. Many business owners tend to forget that and make the text difficult to read for such people. That’s why the WCAG has set some guidelines regarding the text of a website. There must be a provision to increase or decrease the font size for the convenience of the user. The text size should also get adjusted according to the device used to access the website. The text should have an optimal contrast ratio with the background. For optimal usage, you should keep the colors and contrast of your website adjustable.
Images and Videos
You should use images mostly when it is relevant to the information provided. That’s because screen readers cannot read images. It is best to avoid images instead of text, as it might be irrelevant for people using screen readers. If you have icons for the home page or any other pages, make sure that they get accompanied by a relevant text. If you have relevant images on the web page, they should have an accurate and descriptive alt text. All videos should have closed captions and accompanying transcripts.
Forms are always tricky for accessibility since many aspects need to get optimized for accessibility. When we input the information inside a field, the instructions vanish if they are inside it. That makes it difficult for people using screen readers. That is why the instructions should be present as captions under the field. If you want to include a time out feature in a form on your website, make sure you take assistive inputs into account, as they might take longer.
If you want to avoid the common accessibility issues on your website, it is best to work with experts who are well versed with the latest WCAG 2.1 guidelines. It is also suggested that you apply the codes in the initial stages of the website’s design.