A website should be something that every person can easily use, and a disability should not impede an individual from accessing your content. Here is where website accessibility comes into action. An accessible web design is something that enables every user, especially those with disabilities, to complete all of their tasks comfortably, have an equitable and fair experience, and access every kind of information they need without any impediment. Business owners, as well as website designers, have the responsibility to develop digital products taking into consideration every potential user.
Even if you voluntarily disregard the new ADA regulations that require website accessibility, take no notice of the increased lawsuits, or brush aside the increase in huge traffic that you may witness, it is still essential for your company to be welcoming to users no matter who they are. Sad to say, collaborating with developers to create an ADA-compliant accessibility web design is an arduous task, despite the fact that these guidelines are already in place.
There are various requirements that are needed in order to satisfy the particular accessibility guidelines. However, the following are a few of the useful tips shared by Effective Marketing & Design you need to take into account in order to ensure that you are fulfilling all of the basics requirements for various elements on your site.
One thing to keep in mind is that the following list is not fully comprehensive. But, with that being said, it does include some of the common obstacles to website accessibility. As luck would have it, most of these barriers can be easily fixed. So, without any further ado, let’s get started!
Create Well-Structured Pages
In order to display the relationship between various areas of content accurately, it is recommended to make use of headings of different types (H1, H2, H3, etc.). It is incredibly vital for those users who can not count on vision-dependent cues.
Those web users who have visual impairments hardly ever read everything available on a page. Ideally, they make use of a screen reader for the purpose of scanning the headings and garner what they are searching for. It is for this reason that you should steer clear from making use of headings merely for decorative purposes. Instead, it would help if you used headings in a proper, descending manner.
Make Keyboard Accessible Elements
It is vital to make your site fully navigable by keyboard. This is important because those users with fine motor or visual impairment may find it challenging to use a mouse. For example, the visitors use the tab key in order to shift from one particular section to another logically. The majority of blind users depend on screen readers to absorb or use online information. Screen readers are an assistive technology that does not make use of a mouse.
Add Alt Texts to the images
Having website accessibility does not require you to cut out the images. All it needs from editors and website designers creating for accessibility is to be careful with regards to the alt tags they give to the visitors. Alt texts or alt tags are basically short and concise descriptions that impart or communicate the quintessence of an image to web users who are visually impaired. It is vital to keep alt text precise, accurate, and concise.
Along with that, it is also important to keep the image caption different from the alt text. Not having a different caption would result in users hearing the same information once and again. Moreover, it would be better to avoid showing important information in the form of an image—for example, a home button which specifically is an image of an apartment or a house.
Set up links and buttons correctly
Most of the users already have some expectations in their minds regarding the content they see and interact with within digital spaces. Links are one of those particular things that have functioned in a similar manner for many years. For example, while reading the main text, it is reasonable to assume that the linked text would be underlined with a different color distinct from the entire text. It is due to the reason that users have well-established expectations in their minds. Therefore, the developers and designers must accept it instead of ignoring it just for style reasons. The underlined text’s visual indicator designates users to make their mind whether they want to interact with the element or not.
Along with that, it also makes certain that they are not overlooking the important information. In addition to this, the linked text is deemed as more accessible when it is little comprehensive or descriptive. Phrases such as “Click Here” and “Learn More” do not properly indicate to users what they may get after clicking the link.
Avoid Small Text
Text, which is very tiny to read, may cause issues for users, especially those individuals with visual impairments. Therefore, they must be able to magnify it without facing any challenges. It is essential that when they do this, the layout and design of your website do not break.
Moreover, it should be feasible to show the text across various types of devices. These may include a smartphone, tablet, desktop, smartwatch, and various others.
Avoid Low Color Contrast
As per the research from IRIS, around 300 million people out there have an issue of color blindness. In case the colors in your website are not properly used, these users with color blindness may find it challenging to differentiate between various elements. Therefore, it would prove to be beneficial to use a proper and suitable color contrast between the background and main text that you are going to use. Along with that, it is also recommended not to use clubbing shades of red and green as the majority of the people having color blindness suffer from a green or red color deficiency.
You may think that forms are like a simple design pattern, and therefore, they may not need much attention or guidance. But, this is not the case now. Recently, it has been seen that forms are using a minimalist approach. It does not include any clearly defined labels or boundaries that may stay in place as soon as a user starts to type. This ultimately makes forms much more challenging for a lot of users to interact with. Rather than removing the important borders and boundaries for the purpose of simplifying the design of the form, you just need to keep the basic and fundamental elements unchanged. They are there for a solid reason!
There are various reasons for having accessible web design. However, there are many web designers and business owners producing websites but not designing for accessibility due to a lack of understanding and awareness. They need to consider its benefits. Applying these changes would save their business or company from the possible threat of lawsuits, along with helping them establish a positive and better brand image and increase inclusivity on a societal level.
The obstacles and barriers associated with website accessibility can be tackled quite easily with the help of a sensible approach. The last thing which is important to take into consideration is that all of the aforementioned tips and actions must be executed during the initial stages of website design and development. It is way easier and convenient as compared to doing it in the later stages.