Websites are used by all types of people from all over the world so it is important to make websites accessible and easy to use whoever you are and wherever you are.
Can your website be used by everyone?
Why limit who can use your website when you can design your website so that it can be used by everyone. Taking time to address needs of people who rely on easily accessible websites means that you won’t lose out on this users and everyone will can be involved and considered.
Who relies on easily accessible websites?
People who have visual, motor, auditory, speech, and cognitive disabilities will all rely on accessible websites and keeping these people in mind will greatly help them use and navigate your website.
How can you design with these impairments in mind?
People who are impaired with visual, auditory, speech and cognitive abilities sometimes already use assistive technology to browse the internet. Alternative keyboards, speech recognition software, braille technology are just some examples of these ways people navigate online and it may help if they can use these technologies when accessing your websites.
Although adding strong colour contrasts may not be beneficial for all impairments, it is important to deal with differing abilities separately which will improve accessibility. Using strong colour contrasts can help with people who are visually impaired and struggle to read from a text without a stark contrast in colours. At least 1 billion people have a degree of visual impairment so it is critical that this is taken into consideration when designing a website.
A good example of strong colour contrasts within a website is Abbey Masterbatch which uses whites against blacks and vice versa as well as strong contrasting colours throughout the whole website. This is very helpful for people who are visually impaired and people who struggle to see subtle colour contrasts and is therefore worth considering implementing.
Headings and labels
Screen readers use headings and labels as guideposts to navigate your website. Using headings can make your website a lot more accessible especially when using them correctly. Screen readers use CSS to read the page and therefore will assume H1 is header 1, H2 is header 2, and so on. If these are used haphazardly, the technology will become confuse and therefore confuse the site visitor.
Using alt text
Alt text describe the image to people who cannot see it. This can be very helpful when showcasing products or important information through images on your website. If an image is decorative, there’s no need to add alt text but using alt text may come in handy when describing infographics or the image the text is referring to.
Make sure all elements of your website can be accessed via your keyboard alone. Those with restrictive mobility may not be able to use a track pad or mouse and therefore will rely on their keyboard to navigate websites. It is therefore essential that your website is accommodating of this. Menus, content, specific page points all must be accessible to those who can only use their keyboard so assigning the tab and arrow keys to allow this may be very beneficial for your website. This should be logical and not hinder user experience.
Dynamic and changeable content such as pop-ups and overlays may not be picked up on screen readers. It is therefore important to make sure all of the content on your website is accessible and readable so that site visitors aren’t missing out vital information or updates.
There are many ways to make a website more accessible, with the examples given being only a few. These adaptations are usually very easy and the result will be more traffic to your website due to it being accessible to everyone. Making your website accessible to everyone also allows everyone to be able to access information and therefore fair and equal for everyone.