Improve your website’s web accessibility with these 4 tips

By Will Corey
On May 30, 2022
In advertising, business, digital marketing, marketing

Image Source: Pixels

If your website is not accessible, you are excluding disabled people from using your site effectively.

An inaccessible website can ruin the user experience for all users and even hinder your efforts to turn your business website into an important marketing tool.

You can also lose potential customers, or worse, sue for violating the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a U.S. law that prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities.

The catch is that it can take a lot of time and resources to make your website accessible and comply with the ADA and Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), international standards for web accessibility.

Get started with what you have and improve your website’s web accessibility with the following four tips.

But first.

What is web accessibility and why is it important?

Web accessibility refers to the design and development of websites, technologies and tools to ensure that people with disabilities can navigate websites effectively.

This means ensuring that users with disabilities can understand, understand, browse, interact with and contribute to the web.

Web accessibility covers all disabilities that affect a person’s access to the web, such as cognitive, physical, auditory, nervous, visual, and speech.

Improving your web accessibility is crucial for the following reasons:

  • Legal complaint. Websites are generally subject to a number of accessibility regulations, including the ADA, WCAG, state laws such as the California Consumer Privacy Act, and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

U.S. courts have noted ADA requirements in web accessibility-related cases, and the judiciary has recently ruled that websites apply here.

  • Social impact. People with disabilities should have equal access and enjoy the benefits of using the web. If your website is not accessible, you can limit what disabled web users can do online.

That being said, make sure your website is accessible, not only for legal compliance, but also for maintaining your social responsibility.

  • Economic opportunities. Accessible websites can ruin the user experience and make it impossible for people with disabilities to use your website. This is a big customer base that you are missing out on. In fact, the total disposable income for U.S. adults with disabilities is approximately $ 490 billion.

4 Ways to Increase Web Accessibility

Gaining and improving web accessibility can go a long way, but there are tips and tricks to help you get started.

1. Use the right color contrast

Use appropriate color contrast when designing your website to make it accessible.

For example, users with color blindness or visual impairment may not be able to clearly see and read your content and website content.

The key is to use accessible color contrasts and palettes that meet the WCAG threshold.

The color contrast ratio of your website is a numeric value. It describes the differences in lighting between your background and foreground elements, such as text.

Follow the WCAG Success Criteria (SC) 1.4.3. Value for color contrast ratio requirements:

  • The plain text (and the figure of the text) should meet a contrast ratio (at least) 4.5: 1
  • Larger text should be 18 points or larger or 14 points or darker and larger (at least) with a contrast ratio of 3: 1.

Check and adjust the contrast of your website with a graphic designer, or use a contrast checker that scans the text and background colors of your site.

2. Make sure your website is accessible to all users

A basic principle of accessibility is perceptibility.

Users can effectively perceive your website when they can identify your interface elements and content, no matter what tools they use to browse the web.

For example, most users visually navigate the website, but blind people can use a screen reader, which is software that converts text into Braille or audio, essentially “reading” the content for the user.

People with visual impairments may also have limited ability to understand certain types of visual content on your website.

The best way to help you deal with this accessibility issue is to check if your website can work for all users if you disable image and visual navigation signals.

Then, evaluate your website and determine if:

  • Users can still easily navigate your website
  • People using a screen reader can read the alternate text (alt-text) of the image and understand the function and purpose of each image.
  • Any of your content relies solely on color to make sense
  • Users can still grasp the essential information from your web pages, including graphs, videos, infographics and other visual content.

Add appropriate alt text and take the necessary steps to reduce reliance on visual content.

Doing so can take you one step closer to making your website accessible, improving the user experience for visitors to all your websites, including those with visual impairments.

3. Navigate your website with a keyboard

Most people with motor impairments and other related disabilities can use only one keyboard (or keyboard emulator) to access the web.

To make your website accessible to people with disabilities, make sure you design or improve your website to be navigable and usable with a keyboard.

Check your website for keyboard-only navigation using Tab And Shift+Tab Keys to navigate around your pages and evaluate the following:

  • How the experience on navigation changes
  • Whether you can click on links, fill out forms, and turn off popup notifications
  • Determining which element you focus on is easy

Quick testing can help you gain insights into real-life user behavior by allowing you to adjust the appropriate accessibility to your site and other elements.

However, testing is not an immediate solution to making (or improving) your website accessible.

Your best bet is to set up a regular testing strategy with web developers and accessibility experts to test compatibility immediately and to solve open accessibility issues.

4. Include subtitles for better readability

One of the accessibility practices that benefits all users regardless of their abilities is to break down long-form content with subtitles.

Using subtitles helps your readers quickly scan your content for the information they need.

Also, sub-headings can be a powerful strategy to help search engines optimize your website. These can make your content easier to digest, increase reader comprehension and improve retention.

Consider these tips for effective use of subtitles for search engine optimization (SEO) and accessibility.

  • Create subtitles that help readers quickly understand your content. The subtitle of this article is a good example.
  • Use a proper subtitle sequence. For example, do not use an H3 tag immediately after an H1 tag
  • Include relevant keywords in your subheadings to make it easier for readers to find relevant content.

Used properly, subtitles can make your website more useful for users with neurocognitive differences, screen readers, and people with memory-related conditions.

Make your website more accessible

Gaining website accessibility is not a walk in the park, but you can jumpstart your efforts with the tips in this guide.

Evaluate your current website for accessibility issues, use reliable tools, and get help from web accessibility experts.

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