How to optimise your website for accessibility

When you’re designing a website it’s easy to forget that there are people out there who might have a different set of needs when it comes to accessing the information and services you’re providing. However, around 25% of adults are living with a disability and if your website isn’t adapted to take this into account then you may be missing out on this sizeable market. There are a number of different ways in which accessibility could be having an impact, including when it comes to disabilities that affect a web user cognitively, physically, in terms of visuals or speech. These are some of the simplest ways to optimise your website for accessibility to ensure that you’re reaching all corners of your market.

 

Add Alt Text to images

This will benefit blind users or those with low vision who need to use screen readers and software programmes when online. Make sure you describe the image clearly so that the description the user gets is as accurate and inspiring as possible without actually seeing the image itself.

 

Provide options for larger font sizes

Providing those browsing your website with the ability to increase the font size can make all the difference to people who are visually impaired. It’s always worth ensuring that your CTA is in a larger font size to the rest of the page so that this part of the messaging is never missed.

 

Design your website for contrast

A high contrast between the foreground and the background can mean that your website is much easier to navigate for anyone with a vision impairment. This means choosing colours that have a high contrast, such as navy blue and pink, as opposed to yellow and pink, for example. Green and red combinations are notoriously hard when it comes to contrast so avoid these if you can.

 

Avoid tables

Although a screen reader can tackle a table – and will tell a user how many rows and columns there are - as soon as you get to a certain volume of data it can be very confusing. So, if you want to make your website more accessible it’s a good idea to find another way to present your information.

 

Use Accessible Rich Internet Applications roles and attributes

These will ensure that screen readers get more context for your website, as well as more information about it. You can add this into your site using a role=”<ROLE TYPE>” attribute. Some of the most common categories include Landmark (used by screen readers for navigation) and Window, which will create a subsection in the main document.

 

Make your URLs descriptive

The more descriptive your URLs are the more context you can give to users who can’t read them. For example, “about our business” is much more readable than simply “about.” Try to avoid using anchor text such as “read more” anywhere on your pages so that you’re not being vague.

With inclusivity much more of a theme now than it has ever been it’s important to ensure that your website is accessible to the full range of users – and all your potential customers.

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