Digital Trends | MIN READ

8 Best Ways to Create Website Accessibility for Your Site

Sasha N.

September 13, 2022

Introduction

Creating a website that is useful and accessible to all visitors should be any web developer’s main priority. This ensures that people can benefit and get the information they seek when they visit your site.

Website accessibility is the ease with which people can access your website with little to no limitations. Website accessibility is valuable for all web visitors, but it is necessary for people living with disabilities like visual and hearing impairments.

There are probably people with different limits or disabilities within your website’s audience, regardless of your sector. This is why it’s crucial to ensure that your website is easy to navigate and can be used with no restrictions.

What Is Website Accessibility?

The inclusive practice of developing websites, tools, and technologies that provide equal access to all users, including those with disabilities and impairments, is known as web accessibility. 

Web accessibility aims to provide users with disabilities with an experience equal to or close to those without disabilities.

For developers and businesses who want to produce high-quality websites and web tools and prevent people from being excluded from utilizing their goods and services, accessibility is crucial.

Web accessibility encompasses all disabilities that affect access to the Web, including:

Auditory. Deafness and hearing loss are just two examples of hearing problems.

Cognitive. Developmental disabilities and learning disabilities are just a few examples of cognitive impairments (dyslexia, non-verbal learning, etc.)

Neurological. Neurological impairments range from epilepsy to cerebral palsy to seizures, among others.

Physical

Speech

Visual. Visual impairments can range from blindness to poor vision to colour blindness.

Motor/Mobility. Muscle sluggishness, lack of muscle control, and difficulty or incapacity in using the hands are only a few examples of motor impairments.

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Website accessibility is not considered a ranking factor by Google. But, this doesn’t mean you should pay less attention to it. Remember, it is necessary for people with disabilities and beneficial for all users. It will drive more people to your site and make them stay longer.

The Principles of Website Accessibility

The foundation of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines is comprised of four essential accessibility guiding principles. These can be summarized in the POUR, which stands for perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust.

One of the POUR principles can be used to characterize many of the technical difficulties that disabled persons and people with disabilities confront.

 

Perceivable

This principle indicates that users can recognize content and UI components using their senses. This indicates that many users predominantly perceive a system visually, yet perceivability may also depend on sound or touch for other users.

Some examples of problems that one can experience under this principle are;

The links that make up a website’s navigation are typically presented in various sequences from page to page. How can a user travel through the website efficiently if she has to master the basics of navigation again for every page?

There are some non-English terms and phrases in a Word document. How can assistive technology correctly render the text if the languages are not indicated?

 

Operable

Users can effectively use buttons, controls, navigation, and other interactive components. This entails using assistive technology, such as speech recognition, keyboards, screen readers, etc., for many users.

Examples of operable issues include; 

A user unable to operate a regular mouse will not be able to view web information that requires a mouse.

People with poor or no eyesight also rely upon the keyboard’s functionality. They may have no trouble using a mouse, but since they can’t see where to click on the screen, it doesn’t help them much.

 

Understandable

Users should understand the information and pick up on using your site. Your OER should have a consistent presentation and structure, predictable usage patterns, and a voice and tone acceptable to the target audience.

Examples of problems that are faced under this principle include:

The links that make up a website’s navigation are typically presented in various sequences from page to page. How can a user travel around your OER efficiently if they need to learn the basics of navigation for every page?

A website frequently uses jargon, acronyms, and abbreviations. How can users with disabilities (and others) understand the material if these are never defined?

 

Robust

To allow users to choose the technology they use to interact with websites, online documents, multimedia, and other information formats, content must be strong enough to be reliably interpreted by many users. Users should be free to select the technologies they want to use to access OER content.

Examples of problems under the robust principle include:

You must have a particular web browser version to use a website’s functionality. How can a person experience the site’s functionality if they cannot utilize that browser?

A screen reader on a specific operating system cannot view a document format. How can users view the document if they use that OS for routine tasks?

How to Make Your Website More Accessible

If you are looking to increase the accessibility of your website, there are different ways to achieve this. It can be as simple as adding alt text to images or closed captions to videos. Let’s get into more detail about how all this works.

 

Use a Good Colour Contrast

The most common form of colour blindness is a red-green colour deficiency. People with this deficiency have difficulty separating red, green and yellow colours. Regarding the contrast of your website, people with colour blindness are the most likely to be affected.

Individuals with visual impairments like colour blindness or restricted vision may find it challenging to understand websites with a non-contrasting or inadequate colour scheme. 

Create your website so that it can be used by different users, like other groups of people with disabilities, for example, those with learning difficulties, to identify and sort through our content.

Use colour to appeal to all audiences, but also include other visual cues like an asterisk or question mark. Make sure to use visual separation to separate content blocks from one another (such as whitespace or borders).

According to (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) WCAG requirements, you should design your website so that the perceived brightness of the foreground items, such as buttons, menus, or graphics, is at least 4.5 times higher than the perceived brightness of the backdrop colour.

 

Include Alt Text for Images

Alternative or alt text is a word that can be included as an attribute to describe an image’s nature or contents to website visitors. The alt text is displayed in a box that typically would have the image in it. 

When an image link is unavailable due to a broken or modified URL or any other problem, alt text displays which can be helpful.

Alt text enables accessibility as it is read out to visually impaired people through screen readers that read descriptions of images on a web page. Besides images, ensure alternative text is included for all the essential visual components of your website, such as buttons and logos.

The one exception to the alt text rule is when an image is used only for decoration; in this instance, the alt text attribute can be left blank so that the screen reader user is not diverted from the page’s more important information.

 

Ensure Keyboard-Only Navigation

Some web visitors, such as people with mobility issues who have sustained repetitive stress injuries, may not navigate the internet or web content with a mouse. This is where keyboard-only navigation comes in handy. 

These users can access content by pressing the “tab” or “arrow” keys on a keyboard or using alternate input methods like a single switch or a mouth stick. 

The main distinction between the keyboard and the mouse is that users can only access the links on the screen in order when they use the keyboard to navigate. They must read each link once before getting to the site they want to visit. 

However, the mouse enables direct access to the links on the screen. In contrast, a mouse user can check the links available on the screen and move the cursor right to the link he wants to click.

No matter how beautiful or sophisticated, any website is entirely useless to someone unable to use its controls. Users who cannot use the mouse can interact with websites using the keyboard.

 

Use ARIA Roles

To make web content and apps (especially those created with JavaScript) more accessible to individuals with disabilities, a set of roles and attributes known as Accessible Rich Internet Applications (ARIA) was created.

Accessible Rich Internet Applications (ARIA) contribute to the accessibility of dynamic content, and any element needs to have these HTML requirements.

One of the most important rules about using ARIA is only to do so if you must. Instead of repurposing an element and adding an ARIA role, state, or property to make it accessible, utilize a native HTML element or attribute that already has the semantics and behaviour you need.

 

Work With CMS That Supports Accessibility

You can design your website using one of the available content management systems. A content management system (CMS) is a technology, or a group of tools, used to produce, modify, organize, and publish content online. Drupal and WordPress are famous examples of some of the best accessibility features.

As you choose a CMS to work with, as yourself these questions.

Is the interface accessible to those with disabilities, especially the main template?

Is it possible to navigate the interface without a mouse?

Is a screen reader user able to access all the content, including images and frames?

Is it simple to use and comprehend the interface?

Is there a forum where you may submit queries and advice on accessibility?

Can you update the CMS yourself with accessibility fixes?

If the technology is open source, can you offer accessibility fixes to the community? This is significant for a few reasons. First, updates in the future might include the CMS’s modifications. Second, your effort may be helpful to other users.

The most critical factor about using a CMS for accessibility is not the CMS itself but what you input in the CMS as well. Thus after selecting a CMS that meets your needs, be careful to select an accessible theme or template. 

Go to the theme’s documentation for accessibility-related advice and pointers on developing accessible content and layouts for that theme. The same rules should be followed when choosing modules, plugins, or widgets.

 

Create a Logical Website Structure

Your material should not only be straightforward to understand but also organized logically and simply so that users won’t become confused by it.

Follow web design and content presentation approaches like the F-layout, where content is structured in an F-shaped pattern to mimic how most visitors usually browse websites, to achieve a coherent website structure.

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Place your navigational links and pages in a way that most people would anticipate when organizing the structure and navigation of your website. This includes positioning the navigation above the fold, often in the page’s header (and footer).

You should also write your HTML files so that the intended information and structure remain retained even if the page styling was deleted. For instance, even if you strip-pack the page design, utilizing appropriate headings, sorted and unordered list components, and bold and italic text would all still be able to convey information.

 

Make the Website Accessible to Screen Readers

Screen readers are the most common tools used by people with visual impairments to navigate the internet. A screen reader is a piece of software that makes computer use possible for those with significant visual impairments.

A screen reader essentially scans the text that appears on the user’s device screen and reads it aloud whenever the user moves their mouse cursor over a section of the text, for example. This is why it’s crucial to take technological steps to ensure screen readers can access your website.

Conclusion

Undoubtedly, website accessibility is one of the most important things to consider for your website. By putting the above recommendations into effect, you can improve your site’s accessibility.

Trust us at Sadja with your website to create one that is specialized and intended to engage and connect with your target market. Our unique web design approach enables us to incorporate features and capabilities necessary to make your website visible, user-friendly, engaging, and accessible.

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