Ramping Up Your Website’s Accessibility
How accessible is your website to persons with disabilities? In the same way that buildings provide ramps and signs that have pictures, websites should also make their content available for visitors with special needs. Indeed, from both a moral and business standpoint, companies will do well to exert additional effort in order to design their website with a consideration to all users – including those with disabilities that may prevent them from interacting with the website.
Here are some tips to help you design a website that caters to those with special needs:
- Careful use of color and contrast. Using the tones of a single color can look very elegant. However, it will not always be readable for those who have color blindness. Considerable portions of the American population (around 11 million) have problems telling the difference between certain color combinations such as red and green or blue and yellow. The good news is that there are a number of website that actually give you an idea of how certain use of colors are perceived by a person with color blindness. Generally, use a combination of colors that provide a high contrast with each other. The most common combination will be black text on a white background.
- Set off buttons and links with additional design elements. Links and buttons that are differentiated from the rest of the page solely by color may simply be unrecognizable to someone with color blindness problems. Also, do not use pictures for link buttons and other navigation elements. Emphasize links and buttons through additional formatting, such as the use of underlined or bold text.
- Make your text readable, or at least responsive. Do not think that all your readers will be visiting your website using a desktop with a large monitor. Think of how well even a person with normal eyesight can read your text if he is reading it from a tablet or a smartphone. Indeed, this is not the time for you to let visitors read the small print – they may no longer try reading it at all. Another mistake to avoid is designing a webpage on an image editor, saving the file as a picture then loading this picture as the website. As a general rule, images should be used as design elements or when necessary, as infographics.
- Add description tags (or ALT tags) to images. Website visitors with visual impairments usually use a screen reader to read the text in a webpage. However, these screen readers cannot provide a description of the website images, unless you add a description tag with the image that the screen reader can see.
- Use contextual links. Rather than simply having navigational links that say, “Click here”, use more descriptive text for your links. Those using screen readers will find it easier to determine where the link is directing them. For instance, “Click here for more information about XY product” is more easily understood rather than a simple “click here”.
- Add accessibility options to CAPTCHA images. You will need CAPTCHA tests to prevent spamming. However, you also need to ensure that those with visual impairments can still interact with your website – you can use an audio version for your CAPTCHA and test this carefully to minimize errors.
- Enable screen readers to skip the navigation menu. The screen reader will usually start from the left and read the navigation buttons before it reads the main content. Give readers the ability to go straight to the main content by adding a “skip to main article” link at the top left of your pages. Another strategy would be to program your HTML code so that it reads the main content first and the navigation menu next.
- Make your page “scannable” by a screen reader. Partition your page into sections with headings. This allows a visually impaired visitor to skip to the section they want, based on the headings provided.
- Add alternative content. For non-text content, provide alternative forms for those who are visually or hearing impaired. For instance, if you have a video, provide subtitles or offer an option for them to download a transcript.
About Adaptivity Pro
When it comes to awareness of not just the latest Utah SEO and web design trends, go with the pro. Adaptivity Pro, that is. Website accessibility is not just about SLC web design insight, but also website programming. Adaptivity Pro provides you with skilled and proficient web programmers as well as artists, writers and SEO specialists.