Making Your Website Accessible: 11 Crucial Tips

Making Your Website Accessible: 11 Crucial Tips

The purpose of establishing any website is to attract the maximum number of visitors and to showcase your services or products. This means that your website should be usable for the maximum number of people as well. You can’t expect to attract visitors and retain them if the website can’t even be used properly. However, this point seems to be lost on many people because there is an abundance of unusable websites on the internet. When we talk about a usable site, it means that the website should be equally accessible to a wide variety of different groups and individuals. There are millions of people all over the world who live with some kind of disability or another; if you’re not making their experience easier, you’re losing a lot of potential business.

The problem faced by most website owners is that they’re not even aware of the things they should do in order to make their site more accessible to all groups of people. However, there is a solution to that, as there are notable things to keep in mind to make your website more accessible to your visitors. In this article, we’re taking a look at some of the most important steps you can take to increase accessibility and if you implement all of these then you’ll witness an increase in footfall as well as retention. So without further delay, let’s get to it and find out all about boosting your website’s accessibility.

1. Make It Keyboard-Friendly

One of the most important points of interface with a computer that we all use is the keyboard. Some people might argue that it’s perhaps more important than the mouse which is the primary device used when navigating websites. This is why you should focus a major chunk of your efforts on making it usable solely with the keyboard. The majority of assistive technologies are reliant on keyboards and making it possible for people to navigate the website with just a keyboard will be a good decision. You can test it out yourself by only using the keyboard. If you’re able to comfortably access each and every section of your site without the help of the mouse then your website is fine in this aspect.

2. Alt Text

Many website owners and even designers often disregard alt text as nothing but a nuisance. However, the alt text is a boon for those who are visually impaired and can’t view the images that you’ve uploaded. Adding alt text to your images can make it easier for these individuals to understand what the image represents without even seeing it. It’s used by almost all the screen readers to describe an image and you should ensure that the description isn’t vague or unclear. It can even improve your SEO rankings which is all the more incentive for you to do it properly and make the experience of all the users better.

3. Be Careful With Colors

Colorblindness is a pretty serious issue that a lot of people suffer from every day. However, to most of us, it doesn’t seem to be that big of an issue until we know someone suffering from it personally. If you don’t use colors that’ll contrast well for people with this condition then you’re putting your own visitors at a disadvantage and showing your insensitivity towards their suffering. Therefore, try to learn more about the color schemes and how you can make it easier for them to view your content. It wouldn’t take much of your time and the users belonging to this group will definitely appreciate the effort.

4. Use Headers Properly

The structure of your website will make a lot of difference when it comes to accessibility and this is something that not many people know about. If you can use the correct heading levels then not only will your site be ranked higher on SEO rankings but the screen readers will also have a much easier time narrating the content. Try to format your headers in the best way possible and also ensure that the headings are crisp as it’ll help avoid a lot of the confusion that’s usually associated with improper formatting.

5. Audit Your Website

You can take all the measures to improve accessibility you want but if you’re not suffering from accessibility issues yourself, chances are that you still won’t have a very accurate idea. There are so many different kinds of impairments and accessibility issues that it becomes hard to optimize a website for all of them. This may be tough to handle but this is where the website accessibility audit comes in as they’re usually conducted by domain specialists who’ve spent a considerable amount of time optimizing the experience before. Once you’ve done the best you can, it’s always a good idea to get the opinion of a third party that’s more knowledgeable as they’ll help you detect issues that might’ve gone unnoticed.

6. Make the Text Resizable

Most modern browsers and devices allow users to resize texts according to their preferences. However, this can end up devastating the formatting of your content if you haven’t optimized the website for resizability beforehand. The best way to avoid this issue from popping up is to pay special attention to it and take preventive measures beforehand. This is a crucial step that’ll make your website accessible to a lot of users who suffer from poor eyesight.

7. Minimize Tables

Even though you might be tempted to use tables every now and then, you should avoid using them if you want to maintain your website’s ease of use for everyone. The screen readers will read out all the details of the table which breaks the flow of the content and makes it less engaging for the listener. Try to use tables only when it’s absolutely critical and you can’t represent the data any other way. If you can avoid using tabular formats then do it at all costs as it’ll help avoid frustration for your visitors.

8. Compose Descriptive URLs

For people who aren’t suffering from any accessibility issues, URLs aren’t very noticeable and you can get away with almost anything. However, when it comes to visually-impaired users, the descriptive URLs can be another point of frustration or information, depending on the way you format them. Try to optimize your URLs so that the screen reader can narrate them quickly and precisely. Doing this might not be a huge concern for you but it’s these small things that end up making the overall experience more pleasant for any user.

9. ARIA Roles

As a website owner, you should know what ARIA roles are essential since they help the screen readers provide more information to the user. Accessible Rich Internet Applications are a little complex for someone without a technical background but can be implemented fairly easily by an experienced web developer. These roles are used to add information to all those elements that aren’t accessible natively. However, ensure to use these only when necessary and remember as well that these alone are insufficient to assist the users without implementing other assistive methods.

10. Design Accessible Forms

Forms are essential tools when it comes to web development and developing them to suit the needs of impaired users should be at the top of your list of priorities. Try to place the labels close to their respective fields so that there’s no confusion for the visually-impaired users. While forms and the placement of labels might not be a big deal for others, those who utilize screen readers can suffer miserably if you don’t do it properly.

11. Accessible Media

You must be familiar with the annoying websites that automatically start playing media if you’ve been using the internet for a while. For people who aren’t impaired, this automatic playback is just an annoyance but for those with accessibility issues, it’s much more than that. It can frighten the users who are caught off-guard and turning it off with a screen reader is a much bigger challenge than you might think. What’s even worse is that it can create awkward situations for people if they’re at a place like a library or a meeting where silence is expected. It’s better not to be insensitive about the issues of your visitors and don’t try to impose whatever media you’ve prepared onto them as it can quickly lead to closing your website in their browser.

These are some of the most important tips that you should know about making your content more accessible to every user who visits your website. Accessibility is a science in itself and there are a lot more steps that you can take if you want to ensure that the experience is well-optimized. However, these 11 steps should be sufficient for anyone who’s just starting out, and following these will ensure that your site is better than most sites out there. Following these steps will enhance the user experience and make people choose your website over the others. This is one of the most underrated ways to make your site stand out and implementing these steps wouldn’t even take much effort, which is why you should not skip them at any cost.
Making Your Website Accessible: 11 Crucial Tips Making Your Website Accessible: 11 Crucial Tips Reviewed by Opus Web Design on November 20, 2021 Rating: 5

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