If you were opening a store, company, or office, would hide the entrance and lock the door during business hours? Of course not. This makes your place inaccessible. Instead, you look for the best location and make it easy for customers to get inside.
The same concept applies to making your website accessible. One billion people, or 15% of the world’s population, experience some form of disability. Beyond being fair, it makes good business sense not to exclude this group of people. It’s important to set up shop so that nobody gets left out and it’s easy to get in. Let’s find out how.
Accessibility Welcomes Them
First impressions count, especially when it comes to your website. Some experts state that you have 7 seconds to make a good impression on site visitors. If you fail, they bounce away. Other experts say you only have 50 milliseconds.
If a disabled person visits your site and it’s easy to understand, they’re more likely to stick around.
Imagine a visually impaired visitor coming to your site. Does it clearly transmit what you are about? Accessibility means a page title that explains quickly, clearly, and concisely the purpose of the page.
Next, as your visitor obviously wants to check things out, your site should be navegable using the TAB key instead of a mouse. Many persons with disability use keyboard-based, non-mouse navigation. Also, when they tab, make sure the sequence makes sense instead of jumping around randomly.
Accessibility Tells Them About It
Is there an important image on the home page? How does a visually impaired person know about it? How do you make images more accessible?
When coding your images into the site, add alt text (AKA alt attributes, alt descriptions, or alt tags) which can be detected by screen readers. The alt text should be a simple but detailed description of the image. For example, how would you describe this image?
You might just say, “dog”, but that’s kind of dull.
Instead, a good alt text for this image would be:
“Adult golden Labrador with its tongue hanging out”.
Plus, this text also benefits your SEO efforts, so include keywords when you can. By the same token, your videos should have good captioning for those with hearing disabilities.
Accessibility is Patient
Have you ever filled out a form on a website but stopped in the middle of completing the form? Then, when you return to the form, it’s been reset and all the data is lost. Frustrating, right? For disabled persons, it may take them longer to fill out forms. Therefore, it’s best to adjust the reset interval to give them plenty of time for them to fill out your form.
Accessibility Guides Them
The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 tell us that websites must be navegable. This can mean a variety of requirements such as:
- Descriptive titles
- Logical organization
- Descriptive headings and labels
- Link purpose is well defined by the link text
- Ability to jump past sections of content repeated on multiple pages
- Section headings are used for organization
Just like we need road signs to help us drive on the highway, disabled persons need indicators to successfully navigate your website.
Get Expert Help
Today’s website accessibility issues are an essential part of any organization’s online strategy. Not only does it help you avoid compliance risk, but it increases the potential for your site to be usable by millions who live with disabilities. It’s a win-win scenario.
Wondering how accessible your website is? Try Adally’s Free Widget and find out.