Every business website is built with the user experience in mind. But unfortunately that doesn’t always mean accommodations are made to address the needs of users with disabilities.
We are not a one-size-fits-all society, nor are our websites. As our physical world becomes more aware of creating physical accessibility, we should also understand the importance of facilitating web accessibility as well. As we spend more time surfing the web, learn more about how to increase inclusivity for people with disabilities. It’s just good practice, and it also benefits your company.
If you’re not already familiar with the nuances of web accessibility, this article can help you better understand about the importance of web accessibility.
What is Web Accessibility?
Accessibility in general is the ability for all people, with or without disabilities, to use content or a service.
Web accessibility is ensuring people with disabilities can use the world wide web and internet. They both range from anything and everything people use and see. It can be making sure everyone is able to enter a grocery store to ensure your website and company have implemented the proper tools to increase accessibility. Your site should be easy to navigate, understand, and interact with.
We recommend taking a look at your website and considering the FOUR principle when assessing your site.
- Perceivable – Can someone who is color blind, deaf, blind, or have visual impairments process what is on my website?
- Operable – Can I navigate my website with a keyboard easily?
- Understandable – Is my website easy to read and understand? Are my labels and instructions clear and large enough to click on?
- Robust – Is our code clean and usable for all platforms to use? Pro tip- great code also helps your search engine optimization.
Examples of web accessibility measures are:
- Web text with a high contrast ratio
- Websites that are navigable without the use of a mouse
- Tags and alternative text that can be read by assistive technologies
- Scalable text for users with vision impairment
Why Is Web Accessibility Important?
Our world today is heavily reliant on the internet. We use it to communicate, to find entertainment, and even work. Stepping into this web-heavy world means we also need to think about how it impacts everyone, and how to provide a space of equal access and equal opportunity.
Increasing web accessibility opens the door to allow people with disabilities to interact with you and your business more easily, as long as you implement the right tools. You are able to overcome obstacles more easily through the web than in the physical world. Both you and your clients benefit! We love a win-win.
If your website is easier to navigate because it is accessible, you increase the likelihood of brand loyalty. People would rather use your services than stumble along a website that’s not user-friendly.
Being accessible doesn’t only benefit people with disabilities. It benefits those without them as well by enhancing the overall user experience.
Your platform should be aware of users with smaller screens, the elderly, those with temporary disabilities, situational limitations, and also slow internet connectivity. Keeping all of this in mind gives you a broader audience to listen to what you have to say. It’ll probably keep them listening, too.
How Can I Make My Website More Accessible?
Now that you’re on board with creating a more accessible site, take a look at just a few ways you can be more conscious of accessibility.
Camel Case Hashtags
One simple way to make your business more accessible is camel casing your hashtags. This makes it easier to read the hashtag itself for those with visual impairments. It also helps for any text-to-speech programs to differentiate the words. For example, instead of #digitalstoryteller, change it to #DigitalStoryteller. It’s easier on the eye, and easier to read!
Add Alt Text
Add captions to your photos. This can be done on blog posts with photos and even on Instagram itself. The alt text should describe what is happening in the photo to help people with visual impairments still experience and understand the photo.
Separate alt text from your captions. This avoids confusion and makes it clear for the reader between the caption itself, and the description of the photo.
Let’s say you post a picture of your company’s office view on Instagram. When posting, click advanced settings on the bottom of the share page. Click “Write Alt Text” under “Accessibility.” Here, you can describe the beautiful view through the floor-to-ceiling windows of your city skyline, cotton candy pink and orange sunset, and the line of cars waiting for the stoplight.
Enabling captions on video content is a great way to make your content accessible to everyone, especially those hard of hearing. It’s also just good practice. Not everyone can watch your content with full volume on, and it wouldn’t be pleasant to watch a four-minute video without knowing what’s being said. If you have to watch a video without volume, having captions allows you to still watch and follow along instead of exiting out.
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