7 Best Practices For Website Accessibility
As more people with disabilities use the internet, website accessibility is becoming increasingly important.
Web Accessibility Statistics:
- 15% of the world's population has some sort of disability.
- Up to 1 in 4 (26%) adults in the United States have some type of disability.
- 4.9% of U.S. adults have a vision disability with blindness or serious difficulty seeing even when wearing glasses, requiring screen readers.
- 5.7% of U.S. adults are deaf or have serious difficulty hearing.
- 10.8% of people with a disability have a cognition disability with serious difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions.
- 23% of images had missing alternative text, and over one-third of all images analyzed had detectable accessibility issues.
- 92% of the most popular federal websites fail to meet basic standards for accessibility, says a study from the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation.
- 90% of websites are inaccessible to people with disabilities who use assistive technologies.
In this article, we'll talk about some of the most important best practices for making a website that anyone, regardless of their disabilities, can use easily to navigate, get information, and interact with your content.
Here are seven best practices for making your website accessible.
Use Use A CMS That Supports AccessibilityA CMS software platform allows website owners and creators to easily manage and publish content without requiring extensive technical knowledge.
It supports accessibility, which is an important step in creating an accessible website.
However, not all CMS platforms are created equal regarding accessibility.
When selecting a CMS, it's important to consider accessibility features such as the ability to add alternative text to images, the ability to create descriptive link text, and the ability to use keyboard navigation for all website features.
Additionally, some CMS platforms may offer built-in accessibility testing and compliance tools to help ensure that your website meets accessibility guidelines and standards.
By using an accessible CMS, you can ensure that your website is designed with accessibility in mind from the ground up. Doing this can save time and effort in the long run, as you won't need to retrofit your website to meet accessibility standards at a later date.
Use Descriptive Alt Tags For Images
Descriptive alt tags must be used when adding images to your website.
Users with visual impairments can use screen readers to help them understand a webpage's content by using alt tags, which are brief descriptions of images.
Describing the image's content is critical when writing alt tags accurately. Doing this entails thoroughly explaining the image and how it relates to the page's content. For instance, the alt tag for a dog image on your website should precisely describe the image, such as "a brown and white dog playing in the park." Avert using ambiguous alt tags, such as "image," or leaving the alt tag empty.
Additionally, it can harm your website's search engine optimization and make it challenging for visually impaired users to understand the webpage's context. You can increase your website's usability and ensure that users of all abilities can understand the content by using descriptive alt tags for your images.
Provide Transcripts And Subtitles For Audio And Video Content
Accessing audio and video content can be challenging for deaf and hard-of-hearing users.
It's crucial to offer transcripts that accurately reflect the audio or video's content to make this content accessible. A transcript is a written account of what is said or shown in an audio or video recording. By providing a transcript, users with hearing impairments can read the content and understand what is being said. Additionally, offering transcripts can enhance search engine optimization (SEO) and increase the accessibility of your content to a larger audience.
In addition to transcripts, any audio or video content on your website should also have subtitles or captions. It can assist listeners who struggle to understand accents or particular speech patterns or who don't speak the language being spoken in the audio. Users in a noisy setting who might not be able to hear the audio well may find subtitles helpful. It's crucial to check that the subtitles match the sound or video and are accurate. It's best to use a legible font and check that nothing else on the screen will obstruct the text when creating subtitles. Additionally, it's crucial to provide users with options for customizing the subtitles, such as altering the font size or color to suit their preferences.
By providing both transcripts and subtitles, you can make your audio and video content more accessible to a wider audience, including those with hearing impairments or who may face other barriers to accessing the content.
Ensure That Your Website Can Be Navigated Using A Keyboard
Not all users can navigate a website using a mouse or other pointing device. Users with motor impairments or who use assistive technology like a switch device may rely on a keyboard to navigate your website.
It's important to ensure your website can be navigated using a keyboard which means that users can use the Tab key to move between links and other interactive elements and that there are no keyboard traps (areas where a user cannot navigate away from using the keyboard).
Make Sure Your Website Is Easy To Read
Ensuring all users, including those with visual impairments or reading difficulties, can easily read your website is another crucial component of website accessibility.
Use a typeface and font size that are readable, and make the text and background stand out strongly. Avoid using tiny fonts or fancy typefaces that might be challenging to read, and make sure there is enough contrast between the text and the background color to make it visible.
Consider your content's readability in addition to these visual components. Use lucid language, and divide lengthy paragraphs into more manageable paragraphs of information. Doing this may be simpler for users with cognitive or reading challenges to understand the information on your website.
Give Your Links Unique And Descriptive Names
When creating accessible web content, ensuring your links have unique and descriptive names is essential.
Users with hearing impairments who rely on transcripts or captions to access audio content may benefit from descriptive link names because they can more easily identify which links correspond to specific audio files or videos.
Individuals with visual impairments who use screen magnification or high contrast settings may benefit from descriptive link names because they can more easily distinguish between links and surrounding text.
Users with seizure disorders who may be triggered by flashing or blinking content may benefit from descriptive link names because they can more easily avoid links that lead to potentially triggering content.
Users with dyslexia or other reading disorders may benefit from descriptive link names because it can help them more easily understand the context and purpose of the link, which can improve their comprehension and overall experience on the website.
Also, people who rely on screen readers to navigate the website can help users quickly understand where a link will take them without navigating through unnecessary information.
Instead of generic phrases like "click here" or "read more," use descriptive text that properly describes where the link will go. For example, if you're linking to a page about accessibility guidelines, use text like "Learn more about web accessibility guidelines" instead of "Click here for more information."
Not only does using descriptive link names help users with disabilities, but it also makes your website easier to use in general. Descriptive links can improve the user experience by providing clear and concise information about where the link will take them. Doing this can help users quickly find the information they're looking for, leading to increased engagement and satisfaction with your website.
It's important to note that links should be visible and distinguishable from surrounding text. You can accomplish this by using a different font or color or by underlining the link text. Additionally, when including links in images, use descriptive alt text that accurately describes where the link will go.
Using descriptive link names is an important aspect of creating accessible and user-friendly web content. By providing clear and concise information about where the link will take users, you can improve the user experience for all visitors to your website.
Importance Of Using Headlines For Accessibility and Usability On Your Website
Correctly using headings on a website can benefit people with all types of disabilities.
Headings are essential for website accessibility, as they benefit people with visual impairments and cognitive disabilities.
People with visual impairments may use screen magnification software to zoom in on specific sections of a webpage, and headings provide a clear and organized structure that helps them find the content they are looking for. Additionally, headings affect screen readers because they rely on them to provide an overview of the content and its structure.
Screen reader users can use the headings on a page to navigate the page, hear a list of all headings, and skip to the desired heading to start reading there. Screen reader users can use headings to skip over content that repeatedly appears, such as headers, menus, and sidebars.
People with cognitive disabilities may also benefit from headings, as they can help break up large blocks of text and make the content easier to understand."
Organizing your content with headings improves your website's overall usability and readability for all users, regardless of ability or disability.
In conclusion, as more people with disabilities use the internet, website accessibility is becoming increasingly important. There are several best practices that website owners can follow to make their website inclusive, including using a CMS that supports accessibility, using descriptive alt tags for images, providing transcripts and subtitles for audio and video content, ensuring that the website can be navigated using a keyboard, and making sure the website is easy to read. By following these best practices, website owners can ensure that their website is designed with accessibility in mind from the ground up, making it accessible to all users regardless of their abilities.