Whether you are running an e-commerce website or a web development company, you want to attract as many visitors to your website as possible. However, this can be difficult without prioritizing accessible web design.
Website accessibility includes making the site accessible to all, including persons with disabilities and impairments. Fortunately, there are tons of resources, tools, and tricks you can use to easily create a great website.
This post explains why website accessibility is so important. Then it shows that you can access the site. Finally, we provide a comprehensive guide to designing an accessible website. Let’s begin!
Why is website access a priority?
Website accessibility is how people with disabilities can access the website. This includes people who are blind or visually impaired, deaf or hard of hearing, and people with motor or sensory impairments.
As a website owner, it’s important that you don’t give up on people who fall into this category. In fact, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a civil rights law that prohibits businesses and organizations from discriminating on the basis of disability. However, legal compliance is not the only priority for website access.
Website visits are a great way to demonstrate the overall value of your company. Additionally, designing an accessible website makes it more successful. This will improve the user experience for all visitors.
There are many ways to make your website accessible. These features include adding alt text to images, providing text for audio or video content, and using clear and concise language.
To make the web easier to use, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) defines the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG):
It contains a set of standards that developers, designers and website owners can use when creating and managing websites and online content.
Creating an accessible website is easy and fast. A few simple steps can improve your site. This way you can grow your audience while supporting your online outreach efforts. You can inspire others to do the same!
How to Test Your Site for Web Access
Before we dive into the tips and steps for designing an accessible website, you first need to know how to keep your pages up to date. There are many ways to check. Let’s look at some simple and popular options.
Use online access authentication
An easy way to test your site’s accessibility is to use an online accessibility tester, such as the WAVE Web Accessibility Assessment Tool.
This software can be used to assess the accessibility of web pages. One way to do this is to ensure compliance with accessibility standards such as WCAG.
To use the WAVE tool, enter the URL of the website you want to test in the Website address field and click the arrow button. WAVE will generate a report indicating any errors or accessibility issues that occur on this page.
In addition to general reviews, WAVE provides suggestions on how to improve the page and improve accessibility. As you can see in the image above, the tool reports that the alt text is missing for some images. This allows you to focus your attention on the structural elements that are distracting.
Install browser extensions for easy access
Another option for testing your website’s accessibility is to download and install a web browser plugin that automatically checks for problems. One of the most popular tools in Google Chrome is the Accessible Internet Applications (ARIA) extension.
ARIA DevTool Chrome Extension is a free, open-source accessibility tool that lets you manage how users interact with web content. ARIA is designed to improve web accessibility for people with disabilities and assistive technologies such as screen readers.
ARIA does this by providing a set of properties that can be used to improve the accessibility of HTML elements. For example, the “region-label” attribute can be used to label an accessible element, and the “region-by” attribute can be used to provide a description.
To use the ARIA extension, you must first install it from the Chrome Web Store. You can add extensions by visiting the Extensions page and adding them to Chrome.
Once installed, you can activate the extension by visiting the chrome://extensions page and clicking the Activate button in ARIA DevTools.
After ARIA is enabled, you can start using various features.
Manually check for common access issues
Another option to check for accessibility issues is to use a manual method. Of course, this may take longer than using online tools and plugins.
However, using a checklist can be a more focused approach. Moreover, this method is free and hence available to all website owners. Alternatively, a manual approach can be one of several ways to assess accessibility.
If you use this option, you can use a checklist to get started. For example, the WCAG 2.0 checklist asks:
- Is all content accessible to everyone, including people with disabilities?
- Are all images displayed correctly in alt text?
- Is the site keyboard only?
- Does your site have audio or video files with text or subtitles?
- Does your website have color transitions that may be difficult for some users to read?
Certainly a website’s user experience (UX) should be accessible to everyone, not just for compliance purposes. Taking the time to manually review your site for common accessibility issues can help ensure that everyone can use your site without incurring additional costs.
Hire a web accessibility expert to review your website
A fourth option, if you are willing and able to use your resources wisely, is to hire an expert to audit your website to test website accessibility. This is a great option for any website, but especially for those who want to make accessibility a core value of their online business.
offers professional services to help with everything from web design to website management. This includes identifying and fixing site access problems.
Our team of experts carefully evaluates your website and provides solutions to improve web accessibility. Contact us today to learn more about our professional website services.
How to Design an Accessible Website (The Complete Guide)
It is important to design a website that is accessible to everyone, including people with disabilities. By following a few simple guidelines, you can make your site accessible to many people. Here is a list of things to keep in mind when designing an accessible website.
1. Make sure your site allows keyboard navigation
Keyboard navigation is the cornerstone of an accessible website. To be accessible, users must be able to navigate the site without a mouse. This is because most assistive technologies rely entirely on keyboard navigation.
Therefore, the user should be able to navigate and browse the site using only the keyboard. This includes page visits, link clicks, etc. To test this, go to the top of the website and try to navigate the page using the tab buttons.
To go anywhere else on the page, press Tab. Otherwise, anything can happen. For information on creating easy keyboard navigation, see the WebAIM Keyboard Accessibility Design Guide.
2. Use high contrast colors
Low color contrast can cause text display problems. Therefore, it is recommended to use colors with higher proportions, such as black and white or black and yellow.
A site’s color contrast should clearly differentiate all elements on the page. For example, text should stand out rather than blend into the background.
There are many online tools you can use to increase your visibility. For example, a contrast test can help you choose a color palette for your site.
This tool allows you to try different color combinations. You can also use it to create points for color groups on your site. For more tips, check out our WordPress guide to using color correctly.
3. Provide alt text for images
If you use images on your website, be sure to include alt text that describes the image. Therefore, blind users can use assistive technology such as dictation software to understand page content.
You can add ALT text to images using the WordPress Media Library.
Another benefit is that using alt text makes your site more recognizable to search engines. You can use it to add frequently searched keywords related to your images.
4. Use headings to organize and organize content
Cut your content into short, easy-to-read sections. Therefore, using headings and lists to organize information on a page increases web accessibility.
A good title screen helps readers understand and interpret the page. It also supports page navigation and helps assistive technology users navigate page content.
WordPress recommends using a hierarchy to group headings on the home page with H1, H2, and H3 for subsections (usually headings).
We recommend that you use this topic in order. ie use H2, H1, H3, H4 (if needed). This level of organization and fluency can help readers with cognitive disabilities.
5. Add captions and text to the video
If you add videos to your website, you should provide a description or text so deaf users can enjoy the content. Screen captions and text allow readers to consume content without relying solely on images or audio.
WordPress 5.6 allows you to add titles and subtitles to WordPress videos using the Web Video Text Format (WebVTT) feature. To find it, add a video to your page and select Text Path in the horizontal navigation menu.
You can attach or upload a VTT file to your video. You can also use a service like Rev to script your videos.
6. Design your model carefully
Templates can be difficult to use for some users and should be designed carefully. This includes making sure each field is clearly labeled and the form is easy to navigate.
For example, you can place a tag next to each field. It’s also wise to include simple instructions that tell the user exactly what they need to know to fill out the form.
You can also add placeholders that appear in form fields as sample users. This way you will have a better understanding of how to fill the form.
Plugins like FormedForms come with accessibility tools.
This form builder includes WCAG 2.0 standard compliance. Additionally, it is screen reader friendly and uses high contrast text. Additionally, it is easy to navigate using the keyboard. This makes it easy for visitors to fill out WordPress forms.
Make your site accessible to everyone
The continued growth of web accessibility is cause for celebration. However, when you run a WordPress website, you want to reach as many people as possible, including people with disabilities. Fortunately, designing websites with accessibility is becoming easier and easier.
In this post, we have discussed some strategies that you can use when designing an accessible website. For example, you can make your website keyboard friendly to adapt to assistive technology. You can also use animated transitions and video clips for all visual media. Most importantly, following a few simple guidelines will help ensure a flawless web experience by making your site accessible to as many people as possible.