Web Accessibility & Usability: Beginners Guide

Website accessibility is a hot topic at the moment, and it’s looking likely that issues surrounding accessibility will continue to become more and more important.

Luckily, accessibility and usability often go hand in hand. In fact, by making your site accessible, it’s very likely you’ll improve the user experience in many ways.

Ready to create a web experience that's accessible to all? Contact us today to discover how our web accessibility services can enhance usability, reach a wider audience, and ensure compliance.

What is Usability?

Usability refers to the ease of use and learnability of how users interact with interfaces and websites. Usability can be measured in terms of:

  • Effectiveness – Are users able to complete tasks and achieve their goals?

  • Engagement - Is the interface engaging by being pleasant, desirable and satisfying to use?

  • Error Tolerance – How many errors do your members make? Can they recover from these errors?

  • Easy to Learn – Can your constituents learn how to accomplish basic tasks quickly and easily?

What is Accessibility?

Web accessibility refers to the inclusive practice of removing barriers that prevent interaction with, or access to websites, by people with disabilities.

When sites are designed, developed and edited with accessibility in mind, all users have equal opportunity to access information and functionality.

Section 508 and ADA were both set up to help reduce barriers for people with disabilities.

Who Needs to Make Their Site Accessible?

Everyone. Financial Institutions, Government, Education and Hospitality sites are often more prone to accessibility complaints and potential litigation, but users with disabilities have a need to use the web and access all sites, just like other users. In fact, services like online banking can be hugely beneficial to those with and without disabilities. However, if a banking or credit union site is not designed with accessibility in mind, it can mean that those that could benefit from it most aren’t able to take advantage of it.

With almost one in five Americans living with a disability, making your site accessible can increase your user base and make life easier for countless individuals.

What Makes a Site Accessible and/or Usable?

There are many ways to improve site accessibility and usability. Some of these methods include:

  • Using sufficient color contrast

  • Easy navigation, including fewer menu options

  • Including a clear call to action

  • Simplicity in design

  • Use of hero images (instead of difficult to use carousels)

  • Visual consistency

  • Subtitles and audio descriptions for videos

  • Alternative text for images / text based images 

Benefits of Focusing on Accessibility

Focusing on accessibility and making your site usable to all types of users will also give websites a lot of potential benefits:

  • Increase SEO

  • Increase your user base

  • Increase your rate of conversion

  • Reduce your bounce rate

  • Result in a higher number of returning members

  • Result in higher chances of meeting international standards

  • Bring you peace of mind

  • And actually help all of your users

How Americaneagle.com partners Can Help

Americaneagle.com has teamed up with our partner, Siteimprove, to improve our client’s site compliance. Siteimprove provides a tool to better your website through SEO, analytics, accessibility, GDPR, and content quality insights. With built in connectors to many platforms including Kentico, Sitefinity, Sitecore, WordPress, and more, you can bring Siteimprove directly into your CMS. The CMS plugin works seamlessly into your content management system to help you fix errors before they become a greater problem.

Contact Us Today!

About Author

Nick Goodrum, Director of Accessibility
Nick Goodrum has been working in the front-end development world for well over a decade and a half. During the journey of improving his code with modern techniques and best practices, he found a deep passion for usability and accessibility. At Americaneagle.com, which is a full-service digital agency, he grew into the position of Director of Front-End Development and then shifted to his main focus as Director of Accessibility. As a Certified Professional in Web Accessibility, Nick has been educating technical communities and empowering clients including those in Fortune 500 by sharing his knowledge of the inner workings of the web mixed with the insights of accessibility needs. He aims to help make accessibility a normality rather than an afterthought to developers, content authors, marketing, site owners, and beyond.

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