What makes accessibility so important? Nowadays we can hardly find a person who is not an Internet user. We all browse websites. But have you ever thought about the people whose disabilities and impairments do not let them use this or that website? They lose a very important part of everyday life. They are cut off a wide variety of services and tonnes of information. Besides, website owners miss a great segment of the audience if they don`t make their websites accessible. These are the issues that should be solved.
What are the main impairments that may prevent visitors from using your website?
- Hearing impairment is a reduced ability to hear
- Visual impairment is a complete or partial inability to perceive color contrasts
- Physical disabilities are a difficulty to make movements including precise ones
- Cognitive disabilities are limitations in mental functions, states like dementia, dyslexia, etc.
- Photosensitive seizures are conditions such as epilepsy caused by flashing lights.
Here are the tips that can help you make your website more accessible to your users.
As was mentioned above not all of the users are able to use the mouse for their movements are not precise. You should make it possible to use your website with a keyboard only. Buttons, links, and forms should be used with the help of Tab-key. That is it. If your website is not like that — you have something to work on.
Careful Color Choice
Some people have problems with color perception (color blindness, red-green deficiency). You should be sure that the contrast between the colors you use is the right one. There are special tools for this purpose. Besides, you should never rely on colors only while transmitting information (in diagrams, for example). There should be other indicators as well, such as notes, comments, numbers, percentages, etc. Moreover, you should be careful with the flashing elements bearing in mind the information about photosensitive seizures.
Alt Text for Images
People with visual impairments may use screen readers that can describe pictures as well. It is the alt text that serves as a description for pictures and other visuals. If they are not just a decoration of the content but convey the sense, it is a good idea to make an informative alt text. So that a user will understand it without looking at the picture.
Accessible Dynamic Content
Make sure that all the dynamic content is not automatic. Music and videos should not start playing once the website has loaded. Some users will have difficulties to turn them off. Especially those who use screen readers. The users should be able to make them turn on and off when they want to. If you have a slideshow make sure that all the photos can be navigated by the keyboard.
Careful Use of Headings
Screen readers deal with the headings as well to navigate the content. If you use headings in the correct way, there should be no problems. But if you are fond of using other parts of the text as headings it is going to be a real mess. Visitors that use screen readers will surely get lost on your page.
Tables for Tabular Content Only
In general, tables are very convenient for users. They can make the data clear and readable. But at the same time tables may be confusing for those who use screen readers. For this segment of the audience, they are not always informative. So, if you don`t really have a necessity of using a table — do not use it. Especially, for lists, layouts and things alike.
One more feature for users with visual impairment: resizable content. That is a very helpful thing for them. Make sure that this feature is supported by your website and does not break its design.
Accessibility has become an essential part of our everyday life. The more you think about your users, the better it is. Keep up with the times and upgrade your website!
Have a nice day!
Bradley Nice, Content Manager at ClickHelp.com — best online documentation tool for SaaS vendors