The ultimate aim of web accessibility is to create an inclusive digital world that provides people with disabilities equal access to the internet and its content. In doing so, an accessible website also delivers a great experience for all users and brings several business benefits in the process.
To ensure accessibility, businesses need to follow international standards called the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). These guidelines are the standards sited by both web professionals and in accessibility lawsuits—stating that sites should be perceivable, operable, understandable and robust in their functions.
So what exactly are the baseline requirements that make your website accessible to all? And how do you achieve them? We’ve put together five essential elements that our team of certified web technicians look for when examining and optimizing a website for accessibility.
Compatibility with Assistive Devices
Have you ever wondered how somebody who’s hearing-impaired can watch videos on YouTube? Or how a person who’s paralyzed from the neck down can seamlessly browse through social media?
There are many people with disabilities that require assistive technologies or special devices to navigate the web. One important part of designing a website and its content is to make sure that it’s robust enough to be interpreted reliably by a wide variety of technologies. Some examples include:
- Alternative Keyboards
- Head Wands
- Mouth Sticks
- Refreshable Braille Displays
- Screen Readers
- Voice Recognition Software
- Screen Magnifiers
At ADS, our team of certified experts looks to ensure your website is compatible with a wide range of assistive devices. Most sites cannot relay the necessary information, causing businesses to miss out on the massive market of millions of potential customers with disabilities.
There are many solutions that we implement, such as providing Alt Text for non-text content so that it can be changed into forms that everyone can understand. For example, Alt Text lets a screen reader know to “read” an image or video that the user might otherwise miss. It can also be automatically changed into larger print, braille, symbols, simpler language and much more.
It’s important to structure your website so that it’s easy to use. Your site should organize its layout in a way that helps users navigate intuitively, find content and determine where they are.
One way we do this is by labeling the content sections clearly and orderly with proper headlines (H1, H2, H3 and so on). This makes it easier for users to browse across different pages without any issues.
It’s also crucial to choose the right colors to improve readability. Many people, such as those with learning disabilities, have trouble distinguishing colors, so a high contrast between the background and foreground greatly helps, as does being mindful of text sizes and ensuring that your fonts aren’t too thin.
Accessibility guidelines also state that page size, media file size and compression need to be optimized across your assets. This helps with elements such as your page load time and it reduces the number of pages needed to complete a task.
Make Multimedia Accessible
Another essential element of digital accessibility is ensuring that users can see and hear multimedia content on your website.
Having captions on your videos not only helps those who are hearing-impaired, but it also allows those with situational limitations to engage with your content. For example, transcriptions can make your videos accessible to those who are in public or a quiet environment where they cannot listen to audio.
The ADS team is also on the lookout to ensure the content experience is not intrusive or distracting to those with ADHD, dyslexia, autism and cognitive issues by assuring video and movement on the site can be stopped. If movement can’t be stopped, as is the case on most sites, it can be an incredibly frustrating experience for disabled users, often causes them to leave the site altogether.
Design For Different Devices
Modern consumers are no longer browsing solely from their computer. There are a number of different touchpoints where potential customers interact with your website along the buyer’s journey. This can be done from their laptop, mobile phone, smart TVs, tablets and other devices.
Ultimately, your website needs to be functional and usable across them all. This allows people to engage with your content in their preferred way.
Our team of web designers has extensive experience in working with various types of businesses within the hospitality industry. Each type of device has its own unique advantages and challenges, so we look to optimize your website and deliver a consistent brand experience across them all. This can be done by optimizing paragraph length, content structure and media types to ensure they are accessible to all.
Smooth Conversion Processes
It may sound obvious, but a website that doesn’t convert isn’t very healthy for your business. However, a lack of accessibility is preventing customers from taking the desired action on your site—whether that’s an online sale, lead generation or booked reservation.
Having an accessible website leads to an increase in website conversions. The ADS team achieves this through a number of different ways by and by assuring that your check out experience is usable by all
Is Your Website Accessible?
At the end of the day, having an accessible website solves problems for real people with disabilities and removes the barriers to interaction with your business for millions. In doing so, it will also enhance the overall user experience for everyone and help your business’ bottom line at the same time.
The ADS team is composed of certified accessibility experts who have experience designing and coding according to official standards.