Website accessibility is ensuring that your website is easy-to-use for everyone regardless of their physical and situational disabilities or economic restrictions. In addition, you want to ensure that your site experience is seamless for all users, irrespective of circumstances.
If this aspect of your website isn’t fixed, there may be a good chance that you might be restricting a good number of your target market just because they can’t access key features on your online page.
While one might think mainly of those with disabilities, and course, this is a good place to start; website accessibility issues can touch on temporary situational circumstances such as:
- Users who need to access your site through their mobile phones or other small-screen devices, using smart televisions (TVs), and the like;
- Older website visitors with different and changing challenges due to aging;
- Users accessing your site in a badly lit area; and
- Users using slow internet connections or whose bandwidth is expensive due to their country or place.
Knowing the broad and varying landscape of the challenges you need to address can help you craft solutions that can work. The following are key ways for you to improve accessibility on your site
1. Make Your Content Controllable Through Voice
Voice recognition is a feature that can be integrated into a website to allow your content to be controlled by voice. This includes forms, buttons, links, and other controls. You can integrate dictation software that can allow users who can’t use the mouse or keyboard to perform functions on your site using voice.
All your content must be properly coded and designed for this to work. In addition, you’ll need identifiers and labels in the site’s source code that match how they’re visually represented to make it clear which control will be activated by voice command.
2. Be Mindful Of Your Color Choices
Millions of people around the globe are color blind, so the colors you use should be mindful of this reality.
Further, you should be careful when selecting your website’s color ratios and contrast. The color contrast options should be high, for example, using black text against a white background to make it easy for users to read your content even if they have certain visual limitations.
3. Ensure Your Links Are Underlined
Many people have been preceding the ‘underline your links’ rule lately because the text that’s not underlined has more aesthetic appeal than that which is underlined. This might be true, but your website’s primary task is that of functionality. This means in all things, you should be prioritizing functionality.
Removing the underline makes it difficult for users to identify hyperlinked parts of your counter. If you still don’t want to underline your content, consider other ways to make your links stand out from the rest of the copy. You could use color or bold text to do this.
4. Add Alt Tags To Images
To improve your website’s accessibility, you will have to consider adding ‘alt tags’ to all images on your website.
Some sites use their alt text as part of their search engine optimization (SEO) strategy: instead of describing an image briefly and as best as they can, they use the space to stuff keywords they think will help their site rank. Unfortunately, this doesn’t typically result in a good reading experience for a website visitor, and you want to avoid that to keep your website accessible.
When someone is accessing your website through a screen reader, and your website has no alt tags added to its visual content, its screen reader will not be able to explain what’s in the image to the reader. An alt tag is what tells a screen reader software what’s in an image and how it’s relevant to the surrounding content.
To add alt tags to images on a site, you need to go to the Alt Text field on your editor’s right-hand side and write a short sentence describing the image.
5. Keep Your Links Descriptive
Some users will use voice command tech to navigate your site because of visual limitations. Because this segment of your site’s visitors will be using screen readers to access your site’s content, your links must be more contextual.
Instead of saying something vague such as ‘read more,’ you might want to add more details to contextualize your link so that users know exactly where the link will lead them. So instead of just ‘read more,’ you might want to add more details and have it read something like ‘click here to read more about how our team can help you.’ That way, a user using a screen reader is prompted to click on the provided link.
6. Test Your Font Size On Different Screens
Before giving your current don’t size the nod, you must access your site through different devices with different screen sizes, for example, testing how your text looks on a personal computer (PC) and a mobile phone. Hence, you ensure it’s optimized for both big and small screens.
7. Add Main Content Links
If you do nothing about it, users using screen readers will have strenuous time on your site simply because their readers will start reading your website from the top, and sometimes it can be a while before it starts reading the content user needs it to read.
To remedy this, when creating your WordPress site, you’ll need to insert links that allow screen readers to skip to the main content on your page. This link can be added to your hypertext markup language’s (HTML) first column.
8. Offer Text Alternatives To Visual And Audio Content
Adding captions to your content can help those with hearing impairments access your content. When publishing videos, podcasts, or audiobooks on your site, make sure that you have added text alternatively to that content so that everyone may be able to understand it.
9. Enable Tab Indexing
Some of your users, especially those with limited motor skills, will often rely on their keyboard’s tab key instead of navigating your site using a trackpad or a mouse.
To accommodate these users, ensure that your site is tab indexed. This is when you help ensure all users can access your content in its intended order by establishing the order of your content’s elements.
10. Design Sites For Low Internet Speeds
While the average user will have high internet speeds when accessing your site, some users experience lower internet speeds than normal.
Additionally, even users with generally high internet speeds might experience spotty connections from time to time. Designing your website with this in mind can help keep your website accessible to everyone at all times.
You might think your website should be written in HTML text only, but that’s far from it. The standards to flow may include:
- Make sure your pages are not more than 25kb. Your goal should be to make website data load within about 15 seconds.
- Use cascading style sheets (CSS) to reduce the images on your site and keep your site structure clean.
- Ensure that your site’s pages can be cached, which reduces load time for visitors who frequent your site.
- Avoid links to large files such as PDFs, but make sure to if such links are necessary. Display the file size.
- The content that loads first on your site needs to be highly important as it motivates a reader to wait a few more seconds while other information loads. So make sure you put valuable information first.
Making a website accessible involves a lot of planning. This is true whether you’re creating a site from scratch or want to adjust your current one. Take some time to think about how users with different limitations might interact with your website and how to make their experience better.