Back in 1989, when the World Wide Web was invented, who could have imagined that by 2022, we’d see over a billion websites created. That’s about 300,000 websites created every day. How many do you think are accessible for those with disabilities or age-related impairments?
The World Bank estimates that 15% of the global population experiences a disability. Disabilities that can make surfing on the web difficult, if not impossible, include color blindness, repetitive stress injuries, learning disabilities, hearing and vision loss, reduced dexterity, paralysis, and nerve injury.
Factor in that between 2015 and 2050, the world’s population over 60 years old will almost double from 12% to 22%. Age-related impairments such as hand tremors, low vision, short-term memory loss, and joint disorders make web viewing extremely demanding for older people.
Website accessibility should be prioritized; it makes business sense, it can increase your revenue and your audience, and it’s the right thing to do. Here are five ways to start increasing your website’s accessibility level today.
1. Build-in Accessibility Through the CMS
If you’re unsure if your current website is fully accessible, an audit can be performed to highlight where changes need to be made on your existing site. If you’re in the beginning stages of creating your website, choose a CMS that supports accessibility.
2. Alt Text for Images
Alt text is an invisible description of an image. Proper use of alt text for images helps people with vision impairments and blind users understand images on the web page. The alt text is read aloud through a screen reader. If no Alt text is provided, the screen reader will only say “IMAGE” or the file name. It’s easy to imagine the frustration a user might experience with hearing “IMAGE” repeatedly rather than helpful information that accurately describes the image.
3. Use Color Effectively
Have you ever landed on a web page with a rainbow-hued background and purple links? Or find a light grey font difficult to read. Some websites are hard on the eyes, even for people with no vision impairments.
Photo by Kety Balazs on Unsplash
The correct use of color can help users read the page, navigate through a form, give attention to an element, act as a visual landmark to readers, or signal that different content is approaching.
Color can be used on:
- CTA buttons
- Form fields
- Interactive text and other elements
Color is a powerful tool but needs to be handled with a deft touch. For developers and designers, the W3C has issued the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) that can ensure colors used meet accessibility marks.
4. Allow Users to Access All Content Through the Keyboard
You may use your trackpad or mouse every day, all day long. As a result, it can be easy to forget that for a lot of people, the best way for them to navigate a website is through the keyboard.
Photo by Jan Loyde Cabrera on Unsplash
Users with impaired mobility may find it difficult to move the mouse in a controlled way. Using a keyboard for navigation can help immensely.
For example, using the tab key is a way to browse through a webpage using the keyboard. A hover effect will need to be added in the CSS (cascading style sheets, a style sheet language use for describing the presentation of a document written in a markup language such as HTML) to allow users to access links on the page. As a user tabs through an article, links will pop out.
Wikipedia pages are great examples of web pages with pop-ups that are activated by mouse and keyboard focus.
If the hover effect is not added, users could be denied critical information. It’s easy to see why websites with accessible design benefit all users.
5. Notify Users When Dynamic Content Has Been Refreshed
Dynamic content is used on ecommerce sites, ads, emails, product recommendations, and other instances. It is adaptive, it changes as the user’s location, device, or other factors change. It will also update without a page refresh, which can cause some users confusion.
Photo by Elizabeth Woolner on Unsplash
Screen readers, keyboard-only users, and users of magnifiers will need to have clear feedback as to when a page has loaded or refreshed. Without some announcement, users will not be aware of a change to the web page.
Build a More Accessible World
If you feel your brand would benefit from an accessibility audit or need guidance on making your website compliant with ADA rules, we would be glad to assist. Contact us today and discover how we can bring your website to life for everyone.