The Complete Guide on Website Accessibility

The Complete Guide on Website Accessibility

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The Complete Guide on Website Accessibility

In this digitally obsessed world, creating an accessible web design has now become essential for businesses to attract as many visitors as possible. Optimizing your website for people with disabilities is a sensible approach to help users who struggle hard to use the web.

Did you know that approximately 25% of adults in the U.S. experience significant disability? Creating an accessible website ensures that all visitors regardless of their disability can easily access your website content. Unfortunately, many businesses don’t follow the web accessibility best practices and end up losing their sales potential.

According to the WebAIM 2023 report, only 3.7% of the websites of the top one million websites meet the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. (WCAG). It makes it critically important for businesses to hire a team of web designers to build a website that is accessible and offers a seamless experience for users with disabilities. From the content format to design structure, navigation and content alignment, you need to prioritize web accessibility.

Here is an easy guide on what web accessibility is and how to make your website accessible. Let’s get started.

Table Of Content

What is Website Accessibility?

Why is Website Accessibility Important?

Main Principles of Website Accessibility

The Best Practices for Website Accessibility

Integrate Web Accessibility Tools into the Design Process

Hire a Web Design Agency to Audit Your Site

 

What is Website Accessibility?

Web accessibility is the practice of developing a website with advanced tools and technologies so that people with disabilities, limitations and impairments can easily use it. Following the web accessibility practices and design principles will help you offer a seamless website experience to all visitors. It ensures that your website content is accessible for all types of users.  

The Web Accessibility Initiative (WIP) of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) set some standards of web content accessibility. You need to follow web content accessibility guidelines to make your website accessible for those with disabilities.

Why is Website Accessibility Important?

Today, website accessibility is not an option, it has become an essential design principle for websites to achieve more conversions and leads. The growing number of people with disabilities has increased the demand of website accessibility in 2023 and in the years to come. According to the World Health Organization and the CDC surveys, approximately 16% of the global population, and around 26% of the U.S. population, have a disability. 

Websites should be accessible to every type of user, including those with disabilities. It allows them to access web content and services that are available to everyone. Making your website accessible will ensure that people with disabilities can easily perceive, comprehend, navigate and interact with the design elements and content.

By creating an accessible web design, you can offer an amazing user experience for all visitors, including those with disabilities and limitations when they land on your website. Designing accessible websites will help you reach a wider audience. So, focus your efforts and energy in making your website accessible.  

Main Principles of Website Accessibility

According to WCAG, there are four principles of website accessibility. Web designers are advised to follow these web accessibility standards to get the best possible results:

Perceivable: User interface design, content and other design elements must be aligned in a way users can easily perceive and understand. From using the right color contrast ratio to audio control, text spacing, adding images of text, and audio description make it easier for users to see and hear your content.

Operable: User interface components and navigation must be designed in a way that all visitors can easily utilize each part of the website’s functionality. From making your content operable with a keyboard interface to adding headings and labels, and providing various inputs beyond the keyboard can help users navigate and find content.

Understandable: Make sure your website content (all type of content) written and graphic design content should be understandable by people with cognitive difficulties and impairments. From using easy to comprehend language to placing clear instructions or labels, consistent navigation, error identification and prevention, your site’s content is easily available to visitors in an intuitive manner.

Robust: When it comes to making your website accessible, make sure your content is easily consumable by all types of users, including those who use assistive technology and screen readers to interpret website content. You can write your HTML to parse code without any visual reference and show status messages to make your website more robust and maximize its computability with assistive technologies.

The Best Practices for Website Accessibility

Many web design teams find it hard to follow the website accessibility standards and get the best score in the web accessibility evaluation tool. If you don’t know how to make your website accessible, don’t worry. Here I have listed some of the best practices for website accessibility:

  •         Use Images with Alt Text
  •         Structure the Page Logically
  •         Make Multimedia Content Accessible
  •         Functionality via the Keyboard
  •         Make Your Website Content Easy to Read and Hear
  •         Design Forms Carefully
  •         Integrate Web Accessibility Tools into the Design Process

 How to Make Your Website Accessible?

Use Images with Alt Text

Images are the most important design elements, regardless of the type of website. For blind users and people with low vision, visual elements like images can act as the biggest barrier. These users rely on Screen Readers to read the text on the screen using a synthesizer. Unfortunately, these types of screen readers and assistive technologies can’t read and interpret images.

However, adding Alt text to your images, graphs, tables can help non sighted individuals to read the text. It is advised to describe the images as clearly as possible to help blind people easily comprehend the meaning and context of sharing images.

If you need to use decorative images for your website, make sure to use alt attribute to provide more information or context about a design element to the assistive tool for screen reader.

Bonus Tip: Adding alt text to your images, graphs and tables will help you optimize your website for search engines and increase your chances of gaining more visibility in the SERPs. You can use frequently searched keywords or phrases that are relevant to your images.

Structure the Page Logically

Having a logical hierarchy is important for your website to organize the content and images in an effective manner. Break down your website into smaller sections, so that it can easily skimmable. Using headlines and lists to organize the information on the page.

Breaking down the content into smaller sections can make it digestible. Adding clear, bold headings can help screen readers to easily interpret the page. With clear headings, you can help in-page navigation and help those who use assistive technologies to browse your website.

With proper headings and ordering list elements will make it easier to convey information and help out readers with any disability or cognitive dysfunction. This web design strategy will help you increase web accessibility.

Add Captions to Make Multimedia Content Accessible

Whether you have an ecommerce website, a restaurant website, or corporate website, videos and multimedia content play a key role in making your website more engaging. Unfortunately, blind people or those with low vision are unable to see visuals and deaf people can’t hear audio.

You can use audio description to clearly explain images, videos and other multimedia content. This way blind and deaf users can also enjoy videos. Don’t forget to add captions and transcripts with the video and audio tracks so that users with hearing problems can easily consume audio content.

Keep in mind that closed captioning and adding text transcripts will allow those users who use screen readers to easily consume your content without relying on the visual imagery or audio alone. Any accessible multimedia player such as HTML5 players are a good option to incorporate accessibility to your website.  

Functionality via the Keyboard

For visually impaired people, navigation is a huge challenge. Like any normal user, they can’t use a mouse and browse the whole site. Incorporating keyboard functionality is a sensible accessible web design approach to help blind people access your website. Braille keyboard is widely used for blind people to access the website.

Any disabled user can access the interactive element of your website, if all the elements are keyboard accessible. So, make sure the functionality is complete functionality via the keyboard.

Make Your Website Content Easy to Read and Hear

When it comes to uploading content on your website, make sure to utilize color contrast so that people with color blindness issues can easily read the content. This strategy will help users to understand any visual information, making it easier users to access your website.

Fortunately, there are many online tools available that can improve the visual accessibility of your website. You can use Contrast Checker to choose the color palette for your website. With this tool, you can experiment with different color combinations and check the score for your existing color palette on your website.

Moreover, allow users to adjust the background audio on the site. Many websites display the option of color contrast, allowing users to choose their color contrast.

Design Forms Carefully

Designing a form is a challenge, especially for people with disabilities. It is important to design it carefully so that people with any disability can easily navigate the form. Make sure each field is understandable and properly labeled. You can place the labels directly adjacent to the respective field. Adding a brief instruction is also a good idea to inform users what they are expected to do when filling out the form.

Placeholders are another great idea to appear in the form fields. It helps them fill out the form. There are many online form builders available that come with helpful accessibility tools, screen reader ready and use high contrast text. A professional web design agency can help you design a form with keyboard navigation friendly design, making it accessible for disabled people.

Integrate Web Accessibility Tools into the Design Process

  •         Wave
  •         Dyno Mapper
  •         SortSite
  •         AccessScan
  •         Siteimprove
  •         TPGi
  •         A11Y Color Contrast Validator
  •         AATT (Automated Accessibility Testing Tool)
  •         Access Alchemy
  •         Tanaguru
  •         Pope Tech
  •         Rocket Validator
  •         forApp
  •         UsableNet AQA

Hire a Web Design Agency to Audit Your Site

Building an accessible website is a worthwhile choice to increase your brand awareness and capture more leads. If you want to check your website accessibility, you can use different website accessibility tools to get a clear idea about the accessibility of your website. However, hire a professional web design agency to perform a detailed audit of your website. Remember, accessibility is an essential part for your online business.  It is advised to check your website accessibility carefully.  Hiring a team of professionals will help you audit your website in detail, identify the issues and provide you with workable solutions to fix all the accessibility issues immediately.