Make Web Content Accessible for Everyone

What is Web Accessibility?

Simply put, website accessibility is the act of ensuring your websites are accessible and usable for everyone.  This includes the ability for all users to perceive, understand, navigate, and interact with your content. 

Website designers and developers who want to make their websites inclusive need to keep in mind those users who may have auditory, cognitive, physical, or visual disabilities. 

In addition, there are temporary accessibility issues that must be taken into consideration. This might include:

  • Users with limited internet connections
  • A user with a broken arm
  • A user not being able to listen to audio on a crowded train

Guidelines for Accessibility

The W3C Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) is an organization made up of disability organizations, governments and research labs from all over the world. Their goal is to create universal Web Content Accessible Guidelines to help all users access web content. And since technology is constantly evolving, these guidelines are constantly being updated and improved to keep up with changes in the industry. For anyone who develops digital products or content, these guidelines are a helpful resource that can be incorporated into your design process. Some tips for writing and publishing accessible content, includes;
  • Contrasting Colors: Users with vision impairment or color blindness don’t see color in the same way. It’s important to use color combinations with enough contrast to differentiate your text.
  • Avoid Text on Images: Text on images is a mistake you see all over the web. It also doesn’t follow accessibility guidelines.  If you must put text on images, make sure there is enough contrast so it is legible. And also make sure the text is not part of the image. If the text is part of the image, users who use screen readers will not be able to access the content.
  • Use Proper Text Hierarchy: There are basically six types of headings available, ranging from H1 (the most important) to H6 (the least important), You should use headings in the proper order. Different font weights are used by users with disabilities to differentiate between titles and subtitles throughout a post.
  • Use Alternative Text: Alternative text (also known as alt-text) is the description of images that are read by screen readers. This shouldn’t be confused with an image caption, which is shown directly underneath the image. The description needs to be precise and concise, as it usually has a maximum of 125 characters. The ultimate goal is to describe the image to those who use screen readers.
  • Use Image Captions: You should describe your images concisely and precisely to help users understand what is being depicted. Captions are useful when someone’s internet isn’t loading images. Make sure your point gets across even if they can’t see the image.
  • Avoid Wordy Call-To-Actions: Be descriptive, short and concise with button copy. The user should know what a button will do without reading the body text.
  • Avoid Pop-Ups: Some pop-ups seem to be designed to trick users into clicking on a call-to-action. If you must use a pop-up make sure the exit button is clearly visible and easy to find.
  • Write Content that is Accessible to a Broad Audience: Remember, you must write in a way that most people can understand. You cannot assume that everyone understands expressions, industry language, or what an acronym stands for. When writing an acronym, make sure to explain what it stands for beforehand. This also applies to expressions. If you do use one, make sure to explain the definition before.
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