Learn How to Make Your Website as Accessible as Possible
In today’s digital landscape, website accessibility has become critical for businesses to maintain a strong online presence. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately 15% of the world’s population lives with some form of disability, and they rely on the Internet to carry out their daily activities. Therefore, it is essential that websites be designed to be easily accessible to everyone, including those with disabilities.
Emma Wahdani is a Martech Client Success Strategist at DemandLab; she helps clients meet their business objectives and develop strategies while driving value at every stage of the client relationship. In this blog, she shares the importance of website accessibility and how it can benefit all businesses.
What is website accessibility?
Website accessibility refers to designing websites that are easy to use for people with disabilities, such as those who are blind, deaf, or have mobility impairments. It involves making sure all content is easily accessible to everyone, regardless of their abilities. Techniques may include providing alternative text for images, ensuring videos have captions, and ensuring a website can be navigated using only a keyboard.
Why is website accessibility important?
First, it’s simply the right thing to do. Everyone should have equal access to information and services, regardless of their abilities. By making your website accessible, you are helping create a more inclusive online community.
Accessibility can also help you reach a wider audience and ensure you are not excluding potential customers.
It will also allow you to comply with legal requirements. In many countries, including the United States, laws require businesses to make their websites accessible to people with disabilities. The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) provides detailed guidance on website accessibility. Failure to comply with these laws can result in legal action, fines, and damage to your reputation.
It can also have the additional benefit of boosting your search engine optimization (SEO) ranking: for example, when you include alternative text for all the images on your website, it not only improves accessibility, of course, but it will also be picked up by search engine algorithms when they’re looking at your text and what your website contains.
How do we make sure we develop accessible sites for our clients at DemandLab?
In addition to adhering to governmental regulations for the specific country we’re developing for, we will often perform an audit of their accessibility compliance to see if any gaps exist.
Is there a way to check if a site has gaps in accessibility?
A great way to get started checking your website for accessibility issues is by using an automated scan or “checker.” Two helpful scans are WAVE and AChecker. Single-page WAVE and AChecker scans are free.
What do we look for at DemandLab when establishing accessibility standards?
Here’s a checklist of the top 10 things to check for accessibility (ADA) compliance on a website:
- Color Contrast: Ensure there’s enough contrast between the text and the background colors. This can be checked using online tools such as WebAIM Contrast Checker.
- Alternative Text: Provide alternative text for all images, graphs, and charts. This can be checked by inspecting the images on the website and verifying that alternative text is present.
- Headings: Use clear and concise headings that accurately describe the content on the page. This can be checked by using the heading structure in the website’s HTML and ensuring it is logical and simple to follow.
- Keyboard Accessibility: Ensure all functionality on the website is accessible via keyboard navigation. This can be tested by navigating the website using only the keyboard and verifying that all functionality can be accessed.
- Forms: Ensure forms are accessible and straightforward. This can be checked by filling out forms on the website and verifying they can be completed using a screen reader or keyboard.
- Link Text: Use descriptive link text that accurately describes the destination of the link. This can be checked by inspecting the links on the website and verifying the link text is descriptive and informative.
- Audio and Video: Provide captions or transcripts for all audio and video content. This can be checked by playing audio and video content on the website and verifying captions or transcripts are present.
- Tables: Use tables for tabular data and ensure they are accessible. This can be checked by inspecting the tables on the website and verifying that they are easy to navigate and understand.
- Focus Indicators: These serve as visual markers which show which element on a web page is focused; for example, a different color text field in a form. Ensure there is a clear focus indicator for all interactive elements on the website. This can be checked by navigating the website using only the keyboard and verifying that the focus indicator is present.
- Error Handling: Ensure error messages are clear and concise and provide guidance on how to correct errors. This can be checked by intentionally filling out forms on the website with incorrect information and verifying that clear error messages are displayed.
Anything you’d like to add about accessibility?
Don’t put it on the back burner. We can all get caught up with the day-to-day work, and then accessibility can become an afterthought. When you don’t do that work upfront, it’s difficult to have to go back in and redo it. You should include accessibility as part of the regular campaign process from the start. It’s so important. By prioritizing website accessibility, you can create a more welcoming and accessible online experience for everyone.
Also, did you know that Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) falls on May 18 this year? GAAD, which is observed on the third Thursday of each May, focuses on digital access and inclusion for the more than 1 billion people today who live with a disability.
To learn more about DemandLab or how we can assist in ensuring website accessibility for your business, contact us.