One of the most important categories of evaluation for a website is its attendance. However, not all developers pay attention to the fact that their site cannot be used by some people. Tens of millions of users do not have access to many pages due to various issues with digital accessibility, resulting in a loss for both parties.
In fact, implementing website accessibility is not a task that’s out of the ordinary. The main thing you need is an understanding of the difficulties faced by people with disabilities, and the ways you can present information in order to make your website accessible to everyone without exceptions.
What Is Web Accessibility?
The idea behind website design accessibility is that everyone, regardless of their condition, should be able to use any web-resource they need. Countless numbers of people with disabilities are unable to use websites fully. Fortunately, this problem has a clear solution. Our experience in website development ensures that we can help you in creating a website that will consider all possible needs of people with various conditions that prevent them from successfully interacting with web pages.
Here is a short list of the most frequent impairments that negatively affect people’s ability to use websites:
- Visual impairments (a reduced or absent ability to see or to perceive color contrasts);
- Hearing impairments (a partial or total inability to hear);
- Motor skills/physical disabilities (difficulties with moving);
- Photosensitive seizures (for instance, flashing lights can trigger epilepsy seizures);
- Cognitive disabilities (dyslexia – problems with reading/writing/spelling or dementia – issues with memory/thinking/socialization).
Why Is Digital Accessibility Important for Business?
First of all, designing an accessible website will help a business stand out among competitors and greatly influence its attendance. It will also allow you to avoid possible lawsuits. According to the 2019 ADA Website and App Accessibility Lawsuit Recap Report, where we can see the statistics of federally filed ADA based website and app lawsuits, the likelihood of getting sued because of a discriminatingly low level of accessibility is increasing.
In addition, in 2019, representatives of 21% of companies had to appear in court several times. So, if you received a lawsuit and were unable to quickly solve the issue, there is a risk of getting another one. Companies that own multiple websites or apps are the most vulnerable in this context.
How to Make Your Website Accessible?
A good solution would be to turn to Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 for a detailed description of ways to make the site accessible for everyone (taking into account health problems, aging, and overall convenience).
We have identified a list of features that need to be implemented as a priority, as they will cover most of the people’s needs:
Images with an Alternative Text
Graphic elements are an integral part of a website’s interface that allows you to better represent information. Unfortunately, vision impaired people do not have access to them. That’s why you can replace images with an alt text to create the so-called “design for everyone“. While working with WordPress and adding an image, you will see the following field:
The alternative text is reproduced using screen readers, so that people with vision problems could understand what is shown on the picture. An additional advantage will be that such captions positively affect the SEO of your site, increasing the number of tags visible to search engines (our add keywords to such descriptions, if possible).
Don't Overdo It with Colors and Animation
The colors on the page should be contrasting so that people with low color sensitivity could distinguish between them effortlessly. The background and text colors should not be from the same area of the color palette. Here is an example of good and bad combinations within a similar color range:
Another thing to remember is that your website should not contain any elements that flash more than three times per one second. A sudden pop-up or an ad that’s too bright can trigger a serious seizure.
Say “No” to Automatic Media and Navigation
Despite auto-playing videos and audios being a nuisance even for healthy people (especially because they are usually very loud and distracting), lots of websites continue using them. It is an even bigger issue when we talk about web design accessibility, because users can get confused or scared by the sudden noise. It can also be difficult for those who use a screen reader to figure out how to turn the media off.
It is common to use carousels and slides so that people don’t have to manually flip through pages, but even a well-calculated automatic navigation mechanism does not take into account that some users need more time to cope with the flow of information before going to the next part. It can be inconvenient and exasperating for them to constantly return to the previous page, so this feature should be avoided while implementing an accessibility web design.
Enable Changing Text Size
Many websites allow you to change the font size, but they often forget that it can break the design and make the text unreadable (for example, if it is blocked by other elements). Based on our team's experience in adapting websites, using absolute units (defining the size of text in pixels) is significantly inferior to relative sizes that allow the text to adjust to the other content on the page and the screen size.
It is very easy to test whether your site meets this requirement – you need to simply use the zoom in your browser and see if everything remains readable.
Try to Use Less Tables
Although tables are very useful for structured presentation of information, they will not help you in making digital content accessible. They should only be used for the tabular content and be as simple as possible. Remember to never use them for lists! The reason is simple: screen readers are not perfect and may misread or ignore the table. If it is impossible to avoid tabulation, use this guide to meet the accessibility standards.
Navigating a website is a difficult task for visually disabled people who cannot use a mouse. Their only tool is a Braille keyboard, so you have to ensure all the website functions can be used via it. There is quite a simple way to implement that – you can make the content accessible by using the Tab key, which will allow to jump between so-called keyboard focuses located on different areas of the page.
Make sure that all the interactive elements are also accessible.
You can find out more about keyboard accessibility in this guide.
ADA Compliant Website Examples
The rigid frameworks described above may give the impression that an accessible site is gray and boring, but we can assure you that it is not right at all. For inspiration for creating a beautiful, functional, and accessible resource, check out the following ADA compliant websites:
KidzWish was created in 2004 to give children with disabilities and illnesses good emotions by throwing a huge Children’s Christmas Party. Since 2010, the organization’s activity has been expanding, but only recently did they take care of rebuilding the website considering the accessibility standards. Now it looks awesome – the bright website with perfectly matched colors and original font, structured information, and a lot of photos leave no one indifferent. KidzWish inspires optimism in people in need, the desire to help everyone who cares, and is one of the best web accessibility examples.
Since this website is frequently visited by people with various impairments, the developers’ goal was to make it as accessible as possible to everyone without exception, and they definitely coped with the task.
NSW Government is a government ADA compliant website for sharing plans, services, and other information with 8.1 million residents of New South Wales in Australia. Given the top level of the resource, it is not surprising that developers have done their best to implement all the features that could be possibly needed. As a result, the interface is well-designed and displays content in a clear way, the website itself is keyboard-friendly, and if one is unable to access a document on NSW Government due to a disability, they can request it in an alternative format.
Wesley Mission is an organization that helps the Australian people. In 2017, they got their website redesigned and implemented keyboard accessibility, interactive elements, Tab links, and alt image text so that a wide range of people could use the resource. It is one of the best web accessibility examples.
How to Check Your Website Accessibility?
It is very important to test all the functions of the website and identify the flaws that prevent it from becoming fully accessible. Our recommendation is to use the Web AIM Chrome Extension/Website, which will give you detailed information about errors, alerts, color contrast errors and other possible issues and give you tips on how you can fix many different web accessibility issues.
You can also take a look at our Accessibility Checklist to find out whether your website meets all the basic requirements.
Ensuring a website’s usability and accessibility is becoming a high priority for developers. It will not only provide an influx of new website visitors but can also save a company from the risk of getting sued. The point of implementing these features is that all people as equal members of society should have the same access to information on internet resources. The Anyforsoft team strongly supports this point of view and is ready to help you with increasing the accessibility of your website. Contact us for a detailed inquiry.