In this day and age, if you don’t incorporate web accessibility into your online presence, you’re in trouble! Making sure everyone can understand and navigate your website doesn’t need to be super complicated, and we’re here with a few simple ways to do it.
Before we jump into the ‘how’, you might be wondering about the ‘why’. Well, besides just being the right thing to do, it also leads to a stronger user experience, increased reputation, and stronger SEO.
For more on the ‘why’: Website Accessibility: Why It’s Important!
1. Check The Contrast
This is one of the simplest ways to test for accessibility because there are free tools available online (like this one)!
Just pop in your foreground and background colours (this might be your text colour on top of the background) and make sure the contrast ratio is at least 4.5:1 or higher (or 3:1 for larger text). If it’s not, choose different colours for better accessibility!
2. Add Alt Text and Descriptions For Images
When adding an image to your website, there will be an option to add alt text and a description. This helps certain users (and search engines) better understand that content.
Your alt text should explain in simple terms what the image contains, like “A woman sitting at a desk with a computer”. The description should go into more detail, like “A blond woman sitting at a desk, creating spreadsheets on her MacBook.”
3. Use Headings
Giant walls of text are not only daunting for the average user, but they can also be downright inaccessible for others.
Make sure all of your content, from the homepages to individual blogs, use headings to separate content. Not only will this make things more accessible, but it also makes your pages more skimmable, allowing all users to find what they’re looking for more easily (win-win).
4. Caption Videos
Videos should almost never live directly on your site. They’re just too big and will drag down the speed of your website.
The good news is that embedding videos isn’t just the better option, it’s hard to find a video hosting service (YouTube, Vimeo, etc.) that doesn’t provide some sort of Closed Caption support.
Whether it’s creating them yourself or allowing them to be automatically generated (and then double-checking that they’re right), your videos should always have captions!
5. Don’t Get Too Cute
When it comes to page titles, CTAs, and headings anyway.
This doesn’t mean you have to throw all creativity out the window, after all, limitations can often spark the most creative ideas. However, make sure it’s clear what the page, section, or function of the CTA will be.
This will help people who rely on screen readers, while also avoiding any anger from other users. For example, clicking on a page or button expecting one thing, and getting served up something completely different.
That’s just frustrating.
6. Provide Options
At the end of the day, it’s about giving people options. Instead of thinking about web accessibility in terms of what you can’t do, think about the additional things you could bring to the site to allow more people to use and navigate it with ease.