Some 97% of all websites are developed without paying attention to accessibility features, which not only alientates visitors with disabilities and access issues, it can even have a negative impact on website performance in search engines.
Website development has overlooked the needs of those with disabilities or alternative means of engaging with content for too long.
Those businesses that pay attention to accessibility are not only contributing to a better online world, but are reaping the benefits of improved SEO and visitor retention.
What is Accessibility in Website Development?
Accessibility is the term used to describe how digital media can be designed and developed to consider the needs and special uses of visitors with disabilities or alternative ways of accessing information.
It concerns design elements and functionality behind website development philosophies that make it easier for people with disabilities to consume information.
Types of accessibility features include high contrast themes that make text easier to read, SCHEMA structures that allow content to be translated by reading devices, or something as simple as a dark-mode option to make your website easier on the eye.
They are the elements in design and development that account for the needs of people who cannot see or hear easily, things that make your website or software accessible to people with disabilities.
Why Accessibility is Important
Not everybody uses the web in the same way, with the same advantages, or even from the same devices.
Because of this, paying attention to accessibility features helps include everyone while ensuring that your site performs well.
On top of that, gradual efforts are being made to codify requirements for accessibility in websites as a matter of law. The going is slow, but it is going on both an international and a local level.
Don’t Alienate Your Audience
While the majority of internet users have no special requirements where accessibility is concerned, a fair portion of them do.
This is especially the case if your website is of a health-niche nature, for instance, if you are providing products or services that help people overcome certain disabilities.
You need to cater for these people by ensuring accessibility is in place so they can access, view, and navigate your website.
Viewers Access Website’s Differently
Accessibility features are not just for users with disabilities, they can help those viewing your site on older browsers to get a fuller picture.
You might find that some types of media are not compatible with certain browsers or text-reading browsers which undermines the ability of those who are visually impaired or illiterate with regards to being able to understand the content.
Search Engine Performance Depends on It
A lot of the actions you can take to make your website more accessible will also directly impact your SEO performance, particularly where content layout and alt-descriptions are concerned.
Having all of this set up correctly will not only offer a better user experience and keep people on your site, but will also make it rank higher on search engines since they will be easier to crawl and index.
The Web Needs to be an Inclusive Place
As it stands, very little is being done to include those with hearing, movement, or visual impairments in the digital world, which means that these people are missing major opportunities; but so are the businesses that exclude them.
Ensuring an accessible website doesn’t only make the web a friendlier, more inclusive space, but also widens your target audience.
How to Ensure Better Accessibility for Websites
There are a few things that you can make a standard part of your website’s design to ensure that it offers the right levels of accessibility for users with special needs:
Making things Easier to Read
Simplify your on-page content for all users by making sentences and paragraphs as easy to read as possible.
This means taking care to use easy-to-understand language, short sentences, and short paragraphs.
It also means making sure text is easy to see, so pick a colour scheme that gives text enough contrast to be easily visible to those who might be visually impaired or even colourblind.
Don’t want a high-contrast colour scheme getting in the way of your corporate identity, why not make contrast something that a user can toggle on the site?
Even having an option for a ‘dark-mode’ colour scheme can improve the experience for those with and without disabilities alike.
Be Descriptive with your Elements
Videos and images are great when you can see them, but can be useless to people who have disabilities that make it difficult for them.
Website media makes use of something called alt-tags and descriptions, which uses text to clearly describe what the image or the video contains.
Make sure you use them on all types of media on your website so that they can be identified by people who, for any number of reasons (including disabilities, reading and braille devices, old browsers, or slow internet speeds), are unable to see them.
Structuring Information for Reading & Braille Tools
Whether for tabulated data or headings, you need to make sure that your markups are structured correctly during development.
For those people not using reading or braille tools to access the information, you might not even notice that SCHEMAs are not set up correctly.
For those who are, it can mean not being able to see (or listen to) any of the information on the page.
Reading and braille tools use SCHEMAs to determine what is and what isn’t translatable into a format that can be read out or converted to braille.
The two major culprits here are using tables for styling instead of laying out data, and using incoherent heading structures on the page.
Give Information in Readable Content
Do you have a video that provides valuable information on your website?
Not everyone will be able to hear it, for any number of reasons, including hearing disabilities or accessing the site through devices without audio.
Consider transcribing the video and providing the text on the page, or better yet, offer an option for closed captions that make the video intelligible even without audio.
Make your Site Navigable without a Mouse
For many users, a disability can make it difficult to navigate websites using a keyboard and mouse, and these people generally rely on keyboard shortcuts to navigate around pages.
To ensure that they, as well as those using assistant devices to read and navigate pages, can get as pleasant an experience on your website as anyone else, make sure that your site can be navigated using nothing but a keyboard.
Have a Website Developed by ATKASA Today!
If you would like to know more about taking advantage of website development services that offer your visitors and customers the best possible online experience, be sure to get in contact with a representative from ATKASA Digital Agency today.