Web accessibility is a critical aspect of web design that aims to make websites usable by people with disabilities. It involves creating digital content that is accessible to everyone, including people with visual, auditory, cognitive, and physical disabilities. In this article, we will discuss the top 10 ways to make your website accessible, why it is essential, and its benefits.
Why is Web Accessibility Important? Web accessibility is essential because it ensures that everyone can access information and services on the internet regardless of their abilities. Websites that are not accessible exclude a significant percentage of the population, including people with disabilities, older people, and those using assistive technologies.
Moreover, making your website accessible has several benefits, including improved search engine optimization (SEO), reaching more users on more devices, and an enhanced public image for your brand. By making your website accessible, you increase the potential audience for your website, improve user satisfaction, and ensure compliance with accessibility laws and regulations.
Here are the top 10 Ways to Make Your Website Accessible:
Add a Skip Navigation Link
Adding a skip navigation link before all navigations on your page allows keyboard and screen reader users to navigate directly to the main content. This is particularly useful for users with motor disabilities who navigate the web page by tapping or using a stick in their mouth to press keyboard keys. Skip navigation links give screen reader and keyboard users the same capability of navigating directly to the main content.
Links and Buttons should have Hover, Active, and Focused Styles
Hover styles help users understand that they can interact with an element, which is particularly useful for people with learning impairment, cognitive disability, and limited computer literacy. Focused styles are essential for people using keyboards and keyboard emulators. Active styles help users understand that they were able to successfully activate an element.
Links and Buttons should be Keyboard Accessible
Users must be able to navigate your website by keyboard, as many people use only the keyboard to navigate websites either by choice or circumstance.
Use Sections to Create Structure
The section element creates a structure and document outline that is the semantic markup. The section element is a container for document content that has related themes and represents the section of a document that is grouped around a general concept. Everything within the section element is related, and it is used to create standalone sections within a web page containing logically connected content.
Use Sequential Headings
Headings communicate the organization of the content on the page. Web browsers, plugins, and assistive technology can use them to provide in-page navigation. The most important heading has the rank 1, which is the H1, and the least important heading has the rank 6, which is the H6. Headings with an equal or higher rank start a new section, while headings with lower rank start a new subsection that is part of the higher rank section.
Use Customizable Text
Using REM or EM instead of pixel for font size enables users to customize the text size by taking advantage of the browser settings. This is crucial for people with low vision and dyslexia.
Good Contrast Ratio and Link Sizes
Text and background should have good contrast ratios, although this can be tricky sometimes. Using a contrast ratio checker can help to check if your contrast ratio is good. Also, it is essential to ensure that links are visible and have sufficient size to enable users to click them with ease.
Use Alternative Text for Images
Alternative text provides a textual alternative to non-text content in web pages. It is useful for screen reader users, people with low bandwidth, and people who have turned off images in their web browser. It is important to provide meaningful and descriptive alternative text that conveys the purpose of the image.
Videos should have Captions and Transcripts
Captions and transcripts are useful for people who are deaf or hard of hearing, people who are not native speakers of the video's language, and people who cannot listen to audio in their current environment. Adding captions and transcripts to videos ensure that everyone can access the content and understand its context.
Test for Accessibility
Testing for accessibility is crucial to ensure that your website is accessible. You can use various tools to test your website's accessibility, such as the WAVE tool, Lighthouse, and the Axe accessibility tool. Testing your website for accessibility helps you identify any issues and fix them before they become a barrier for users.
Web accessibility is crucial to ensure that people with disabilities can use websites. It also benefits people without disabilities and improves overall user experience and satisfaction. Incorporating accessibility from the beginning of a project is the most efficient and effective way to ensure accessibility. By following the ten ways to make your website accessible, you can ensure that your website is accessible to everyone. Making your website accessible is not only the right thing to do, but it also makes good business sense. It can help you reach a larger audience, improve your website's SEO, and enhance your brand's public image.