Web Accessibility - IT MATTERS

Oct 4, 2018 | Web Design

Is your website accessible to all populations? Find out!

Website Accessibility

What if we told you that “the aging population is predicted to triple to 1.5 billion by year 2050" (SiteImprove)? That statement in general should motivate you to get on to wave.webaim.org, scan your current site, and do something if your score is not where it should be. Now that we are progressing rapidly with what applications and websites can do, we are often leaving behind the basics that affect those who can’t easily see what you see in the digital world. At the very least, take a few minutes to process these 3 factors that could be affecting your site:

Don’t Forget Alternative Text

One of the biggest habits we find clients running into is placing images on their website without the simple extra step of adding alt text (alternative text) to them. Alt text is a simple, very short but descriptive phrase determining what the image includes so that screen readers can describe the image to the user. Especially if your site is image heavy, you’ll want to add alt text for each and every file that is added to your site. This includes .pdfs, .jpgs, .pngs, .docx, and any other types of documents that are uploaded.

Would it help if we also said that this change in habit will improve your overall SEO? Think about it, these descriptions are simply added content that could be searched for by users in search engines!

Design with Contrast in Mind

Not only do your developers need to know proper html semantics, but designers have an important responsibility to contribute to proper accessibility practice as well. During the initial phase of branding a website, designers should have a set of brand colors that can pass the contrast ratio for the level of web accessibility standards you’re required to have. The contrast checker at https://webaim.org/resources/contrastchecker/ is a good resource to test your color choices. It is also important to note that contrast includes the style of text used and the kind of background your text lays on. This is also a good time for designers to have a solid grasp of the visual hierarchy that will be produced when styling the headers (h1, h2, h3, etc).

Having a consistent branding technique that passes these standards is an easy factor to check off your accessibility list!

Be Descriptive with your Links

It’s easy to get away with repeatedly adding generic link text across your site’s pages. We usually opt for phrases like “Read More” or “Start Now” that guide users to a whole new section of the sitemap. If you think about it, this isn’t the friendliest tactic when it comes to screen readers.

Say you’re wanting to order pizza online for delivery and you visit the locations page to first specify which store you want to order from. If the locations page has three links with the link text “Start Your Order”, how would you know which link goes to the store in your area? You’d have to first read any titles/text before the link or get used to reading the ends of URLs… which would take time. Being more descriptive with your link text will help with usability for all users!

The next time you add a new link to your site, stop and think what is a more concise way to define the link you’re pointing to.

At Informatics, we pride ourselves in producing web accessible, modern websites that often work to pass conformance Level A and even Level AA standards when needed. Give all your users the same, notable experience when they visit your site by contacting us today.

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