Web accessibility is something that has been around for a while, but is often something that takes second place when it comes to design. As web design and development is an ever evolving industry, it is important to ensure websites are kept up to date with the latest accessibility features. My aim with this series of blog posts is to raise awareness, refresh my knowledge on the topic and make sure that I implement all these guidelines.
What is web accessibility?
Web accessibility refers to the practice of designing websites and web applications that can be easily used by everyone, regardless of their ability or disability. This means making sure that people with disabilities can access and use the website just as easily as anyone else.
There are several types of disabilities that can affect a person’s ability to use the internet:
- Visual Impairments: People that are blind or have low vision need websites that are easily readable and navigable without the need for sight.
- Hearing Impairments: People that are deaf or hard of hearing need websites that provide alternative ways to access information.
- Motor Impairments: People that have difficulty using a mouse or keyboard need websites that are easy to navigate using alternative methods such as a keyboard or voice commands.
- Cognitive Impairments: People with conditions like ADHD or dyslexia need websites that are easy to understand and use, with clear and simple language and a straightforward navigation structure.
- Neurological Impairments: People with conditions like epilepsy or multiple sclerosis, need websites that are designed with their needs in mind. This can include things like avoiding flashing or strobing elements that could trigger seizures.
Why is web accessibility important?
For starters, it’s the right thing to do. Everyone deserves equal access to information and the ability to use the internet just as easily as anyone else. Our lives are so dependent on the internet these days. Just think of a day without wifi, mobile data or in our case even electricity. A day where you can’t quickly “Google” pretty much anything? Now imagine that every day of your life! The information is out there but it is simply not accessible to you because of some disability. How frustrating must that be?
Additionally, creating accessible websites can also have benefits for businesses and organizations. For example, it can increase the reach and potential customer base, as well as comply with legal requirements. It’s a no-brainer!
How can I make my site web accessible?
Making a website accessible involves a number of considerations, including:
- Ensuring that text can be easily read and understood
- Providing alternative ways to access information (such as closed captions or transcriptions)
- Making sure that navigation is intuitive and easy to use
- Using descriptive labels for images
- Providing text alternatives for non-text elements
- Using clear and simple language in the text
You might think that making a website accessible is very difficult. The truth, however, is that it can be quite simple to implement. There are many tools and resources available to help website owners make their sites more accessible, and many of these changes can be made without needing too much technical knowledge. It might be a little time-consuming, but it is doable.
In the next few weeks I will explore this topic in more detail, so please subscribe to the weekly newsletter if you want to learn more.