See that little blue button at the bottom of this blog post? Go ahead, give it a click. The Doohickey website now has website accessibility functionality!
Alright, that’s going to sound a lot more exciting if we explain.
Here’s our quick and easy guide to understanding website accessibility.
What Is Website Accessibility?
Regardless of a person’s condition (or even their device), website accessibility ensures they can still see, navigate, and interact with a website.
Unfortunately, millions of internet users have special needs common website practices don’t cater to. These disabilities may include:
- Visual: Includes partial or total blindness or color-blindness
- Motor: Difficulty moving specific parts of the body. This includes the inability to use a mouse
- Hearing: Reduced ability to hear, including deafness or hard-of-hearing
- Cognitive: Learning disabilities or an inability to focus. This includes conditions such as dementia and dyslexia
- Photosensitive: Conditions triggered by flashing lights. This includes epilepsy, which causes seizures
An accessible website means anyone can use and explore your content.
Why Does It Matter?
You never want to miss out on a potential customer or audience segment. With website accessibility, you can expand your audience.
After all, everyone should be able to interact with your website regardless of their handicap.
However, this functionality doesn’t only benefit visitors with disabilities. It also improves your website’s design, making it more user-friendly for anyone who visits your website.
As a result, you can set your company’s website ahead of the competition. Website accessibility also makes your website more flexible, so you can set yourself up for success in the future.
By the way, many countries now have laws in place for accessibility. There are no enforced ADA legal standards in the United States right now. This excludes federal, state, and local government websites.
However, many companies are already getting ahead of the curve.
Understanding Disabilities & Website Use
Each of the disability categories we mentioned earlier requires different functionality tools. Remember, these changes to your website can benefit other visitors as well.
For visual impairments, the accommodations can include text-to-speech technology or a braille reader. Visitors with low vision might use an on-screen braille display. They can also use a magnifier, high-contrast options, or bigger fonts.
Accessibility functions can also benefit older website visitors, since eyesight deteriorates over time. For those who had laser surgery, or people who struggle to see their screens due to sunlight, these functions are also a helpful solution.
There are also devices to help people with a limited range of motion who can’t use a mouse. These include keyboard, voice controls, eye-tracking devices, and switch devices.
Functionality can also help website visitors who are in a temporary cast. If your trackpad breaks, website accessibility can help you navigate a website without it.
Our hearing is another sense that gets worse with age. For these impairments, photo captions and video transcripts are great alternatives to audio.
Maybe you’re in a public setting and can’t hear your computer speakers, or don’t want the sound to disturb someone. These tools accommodate such situations too!
Autism, dyslexia, ADD, and other cognitive conditions need a mix of website accommodations. This can include zoom functions, so users can focus on a smaller part of the screen. It might also include reducing the amount of design elements to limit distractions.
Guidelines for Web Content Accessibility
The WebAIM WCAG 2 Checklist for accessibility guidelines can be a little overwhelming. Thankfully, the checklist focuses on four principles. As a result, you can you achieve these functionality best practices!
- Perceivable: Make sure that website visitors can perceive all content
- Operable: Ensure web users can navigate content. This includes user interface components like hovers and dropdown menus
- Understandable: Make sure users understand the content and interface without confusion
- Robust: Ensure the website works well with assistive technology and different web browsers.
Check out the full list of Web Content Accessibility Guidelines for more information.
Let’s Doo This: Adding Website Accessibility to Your Site
Ready to improve your company site with website accessibility? Don’t worry, you don’t have to dive into that long list of guidelines. Instead, you can contact your friendly website developers to update your website!
As a result, you can open up your audience and reach new customers!