When you have a website, you want people to be able to find it so that they can purchase your services or buy the items you are selling.
However, it may be the case that some people who use your website will have accessibility requirements. This should be a basic principle when it comes to designing a website. Simply put, if your website is not accessible, you have a lower chance of getting to the top of the search engine result pages. Not good!
So, when you are looking over your website to check it for accessibility, what do you need to check for? Here is a quick guide.
Why Is Accessibility Important?
First, it is critical to look at why accessibility is important for websites.
As a starting point, if you do not have accessibility options on your webpage, you are more likely to lose people who may have been customers, clients, or patients. Indeed, studies have found that over 60% of people who use the internet to purchase items have a visual or hearing-based health issue, meaning that if your website is not accessible to these people, they will go elsewhere. Some of the best accessibility testing tools out there are free, so there is no excuse not to give your site a quick check!
You also need to consider your website’s search engine optimization (SEO). This is crucial for people who are looking for a service, and, as mentioned before, if your website is not accessible, then there is a higher chance that your website will drop in the internet rankings.
Now, back to the focus of the article – how do you check for accessibility compliance on your website?
Take a look at the font size on your website. Does it allow the site visitor to change it, or is it set? If it is set, you will need to upgrade that quickly.
Why? Well, in that aforementioned 60%+ of internet users, the majority of them have visual problems, meaning that smaller fonts and difficult-to-read text can make scrolling through a website an impossibility.
So, if you want to make sure that this area of your website is ticked off in its accessibility, make sure that the font is adjustable in its size and color and in the font itself.
When looking into enhancing the accessibility of a website for people who are hard of hearing or are registered as deaf, it is important that all websites that have videos also have closed captioning.
This will ensure that all of your videos can be accessed by people who may need to gain information from your page. Closed captioning is also one of the easiest kinds of website compliance to have installed, so all you need to do is make sure the wording for the videos is correct.
Written Content for Images
Sometimes known as alt text, written content for images is crucial for your website’s SEO and for improving the overall user experience.
When you are selling products, it is also important to have a visual description of the images as a description. Why is this important? People who have poor eyesight may not be able to see the image of the product clearly but will be able to read the image description, thereby upping the chance of buying the product. So, a simple image description like ‘medium-sized red backpack with 5 black pockets’ can go a long way towards getting your website SEO up to speed and making your website more accessible.
You don’t want your website to be jargon-heavy, even if it needs to be. This is important for basic website users but more so for website users who may have learning disabilities.
Make sure all of the content on your website, including the image descriptions, is clear and easy to understand. That way, you can appeal to a wider range of potential customers or clients, including those who may not be able to comprehend long sentences or those who may not speak the native language of the site. So, have your site’s content looked over by a professional website writer who may be able to tone down the language on your webpage.
Keyboard Only Navigation
Some people who may want to use your website may not have the dexterity to use a mouse or a trackpad.
So, you need to ensure that your webpage is able to offer keyboard-only navigation. This will involve the arrow keys being able to navigate through menus, as well as the enter button being linked to the submission of a form or order.