Web accessibility has become critical for a website or business to succeed. To attract diverse visitors to your website and ensuring that your site can be used by all efficiently, it is important to think about website accessibility. Website accessibility is all about making your website usable and available for everyone including people with physical disabilities, visual or hearing impairments, the elderly, and even people with cognitive problems/disorders.
There are millions of internet users who find it difficult to access and use websites due to their impairments and special needs. You can welcome these users to your website by making some simple design changes on your website. Here are ten brilliant ways to make your website more accessible:
Develop a Keyboard Focus:
It is important to allow for keyboard navigation on your website because most assistive technologies used by people with impairments rely on it. In other words, your website will be more accessible if it works without the need for a mouse. Make sure that your users can easily use all the important features with a keyword, this includes allowing them to access all the web pages, content, links, and so on. The best way to check whether your website has a keyboard focus is by trying to use it without a mouse.
Avoid Auto Navigation:
When you open a website, and find many distracting multimedia elements such as auto-playing videos or slider images you will want to exit the website immediately. Avoid any kind of auto navigation on your website so that your users can focus more on finding and accessing the content and important features of your website.
Add Alt Text:
Usually, alt text or alternative text is displayed when an image fails to load on the website, you can use this feature to explain your image and provide a context to your users who might otherwise miss it. It is a great way for making visual information accessible to those with visual impairments as they use tools such as screen readers who can read the Alt text for them. Alt text also strengthens your websites Search Engine Optimization as web crawlers cannot read images without it.
Structure Content with Headers:
It is important to carefully structure your content with headers to make your website accessible. This ensures that your content is much easier to comprehend and has an intuitive flow. Screen readers can easily interpret your website if you add clear headers. Users can jump from one section to another on your website if you add meaningful and relevant headlines. You can place the <H1> element first, to be followed by <H2>, <H3> or <H4> elements. Structuring is essential if you need to break down long web page content.
Calculate your Colors:
It is important to choose the right color palette for your website. Factually, there 1 in 12 people with some kind of colorblindness who struggle to differentiate between the colors and elements on websites. You need this in mind before you choose the color story for your website. Make use of contrasting colors as much as possible as this helps people with learning disabilities process your content easily. In general, reading words displayed with a contrasting background seems natural for everyone, especially when they browse your website from a mobile device.
Design Accessible Forms:
One of the most important website elements that needs to be optimized for accessibility by web designers, are forms. Use high contrasting colors in forms to elevate it and ensure that each input field has a label. Show some examples using placeholder texts and be sure to display formatting examples. You also need to tell your user about the required fields and an error message should be displayed when the user tries to submit an incomplete form. As mentioned above, forms of your website should have keyboards navigation for those using screen readers.
Integrate Assistive Software:
Just like screen readers, there are many other assistive technologies out there such as speech input software, screen magnifiers, and text readers. You can add features that support and integrate these technologies on your website. Make sure that you add captions for visual elements such as videos and photos and you can even provide an on-screen keyboard.
Think about the Translations:
While the content of your website may not require translations into multiple languages, it is important for accessibility. Adding more languages will allow you to reach a global audience. Make sure that you get your spacing right because for some languages such as trend line heights need to be less tight as these languages have additional character accents. To test whether your web design will be suitable for translations, try to create mock-ups for two or three languages that you wish to target and see if these pages stand up to language translations.
Add Extra Layers of Verification:
Adding extra verification layers to contact forms helps your users check or re-check the information they enter. Though this tip will not bring about a major change to your website, it is certainly helpful for people who are using the internet for the first time or wish to double-check their information. These additional layers will allow users to enter the right information. This simple change will save a lot of your time as you will reduce the chances of your users entering the wrong contact information.
Let the User Customize:
If you allow your user to customize and choose how they want to view your website/app, Wouldn’t it be fun? You can give them the option of viewing your website in light mode or dark mode just like Instagram has done, you can also allow them to alter the text size/color and provide them with a mobile view and a desktop view. This will also allow you to create a responsive web design.
There is a misconception in the development community that creating a highly accessible website for all might mean compromising the overall User Experience, but it isn’t true. An accessible website simply offers multiple access points to your website, some more complex than others. The above list only provides a few important tips to make your website more accessible. You can make your website universally accessible if you follow these tips. It is important to note that the above tips will also improve your website rankings as search engines will understand your website content better.