How To Make A Website Accessible?
Everybody wants as many people as possible to visit their website and to do this you have to make sure that your website is accessible to all. Not only will this increase the number of visitors you receive but it’s also a requirement by law that your website is accessible to everybody.
There are a lot of users who rely on websites to be accessible, which is why it’s important to ensure that your website is accessible for all. Luckily enough, in this blog, we are going to show you exactly how to do so. Read our tips below to find out how you can make sure your website is accessible.
Start Your Project With Accessibility In Mind
If you haven’t already built your website or are in the planning stages, it’s a good idea to move forward thinking about accessibility. You should think about how people with disabilities access the web and how you can make it easier for them by optimising your website for accessibility.
There are a lot of disabilities or conditions that can impair a user and make it difficult for them to access the content they want to on websites. Here is a list of some of the most common impairments that people have and how it can affect their use of the internet.
- Visual Impairment: This could include partial sight, the inability of sight or difficulty in perceiving colours. This can make it difficult for them to read both text and imagery on websites.
- Impaired Hearing: Some of your visitors may have a reduced ability to hear and will have difficulty hearing any video or audio you have on your site.
- Physical Disabilities/Poor Motor Skills: Some users may find it difficult to move certain parts of their bodies which would include moving a mouse to make precise actions on the computer.
- Epilepsy: Both this condition and other photosensitive-related seizures are often triggered by continuous flashing lights or a short flash.
- Cognitive Disabilities: There are a few conditions that may affect a person’s ability to read such as dyslexia or dementia.
In order to work around these issues and help make your website accessible for all, you should optimise your site to work hand-in-hand with assistive technologies. These technologies are used to help users with disabilities browse the internet.
They include software like:
- Screen readers that vocalise the text of each web page
- Speech recognition software that will convert speech into text
- Braille terminals so people with visual impairments can type and read next.
- There are even specialised keyboards that are used to accommodate certain disabilities.
With all of this new technology out there to help those who are impaired in any way use the internet, it is possible for almost anybody to browse the web. It’s incredibly important to make your site functional with these assistive technologies.
Tips To Make Your Site Accessible
Now that we know what sort of disabilities or impairments your visitors may have it’s time to look at how you can make your site more accessible for them by optimising it to be used alongside assistive technology.
Below we have listed some tips we think are necessary when creating a website that is fully accessible to everybody.
Make Your Site Keyboard Friendly
This is one of the most important things you can do to make your website more accessible – your website should work without the use of a mouse. The reason for this is because many assistive technologies rely on keyboard-only navigation systems. Because of this, it needs to be possible that every page on your site can be navigated using a keyboard only.
This includes but isn’t limited to:
- Clicking on links
- Accessing content
- Navigating to different pages
- Scrolling through pages
One of the most common ways of navigating through a website with a keyboard is by using the tab key. By using the tab key, the user can move between areas on your page and be able to click on links, forms, and other clickable items.
When designing your site or changing it to be more accessible, focus on ensuring that your web content can be navigated using the tab key.
Add Alt Text to All Images
Alt text or alt descriptions are often used by screen readers to read a description of an image. You can use them to describe the image you have placed in your blog or on your page to give the user – who would have otherwise not noticed its context – a full experience of what is going on.
Create Accessible Content
Users that have a mobility disability or even those who have stress-related injuries in their hands or wrists will find it difficult to use a mouse. As we said before these users will more than likely use the tab key to access the content on your website.
When it comes to content, especially if it is content consisting of long pages, you should consider breaking it up with anchor links which allow the user to skip to the next section or next heading in the piece by using the tab or arrow keys. This will allow them to get to the content they want to read instead of sifting through parts they don’t want to see.
You should always use the correct heading structure to help users navigate through content. By using H1 and H2 correctly, users can use their screen readers when going through your blog posts and other content.
Avoid Automatic Media
When media files start playing automatically on a website it is incredibly annoying to a lot of people and not a lot of users enjoy listening to random music or video as soon as a page loads.
Locating and turning off the music can be difficult at the best of times, but when you rely on a screen reader to read out the webpage it can be even more confusing or even frightening if you didn’t expect the sudden noise. This is why you should avoid using these sorts of elements on your website unless a user prompts them to play.
We hope this short intro guide to accessibility has helped you figure out if your website is accessible or not.
If you want to learn more about accessibility or if you have any questions to do with your website why not complete the form below or click here to contact us!