Making your website accessible to everyone is not only the right thing to do, but it can also make good business sense. By following some simple best practices, you can ensure that your website is welcoming and usable for everyone, including people with disabilities. In addition, companies like accessiBe and others specialize in making websites more accessible. This article will discuss some of the most important ways to make your website more accessible.
1. Create a website with proper contrast
Proper contrast ratios are necessary to make your website accessible for people with color blindness or visual impairments. For example, the proper contrast ratio between text and background is 4.5:1, but it’s best to aim for 7:1.
The following tools can be used to test the contrast levels of your website design or image.
- WebAIM Color Contrast Checker – Enter any color on your page to see how it looks for people with various color deficiencies.
- Color Contrast Checker – See the contrast ratios between any colors you input.
2. Use captions for videos and audio
Videos and audio files are often confusing to people with cognitive disabilities. Therefore, it’s important to include descriptive captions for all video and audio content on your website.
3. Avoid using pop-up windows and slider bars
Pop-ups and slide shows can be very distracting, especially for people who rely on screen readers or magnifiers. So it’s best to avoid these features when possible.
4. Use consistent navigational elements
People who use screen readers rely on the location or order of hyperlinks to navigate your website. It’s important that all links are labeled clearly and that their order does not change unless it is done intentionally for a specific reason.
3. Provide transcripts for podcasts, videos, and other content
When you publish podcasts or videos on your website, it’s important to provide transcripts for them as well. This way, people who can’t hear or understand what is being said in the audio will still enjoy and understand the content.
4. Provide a text transcript when using the CAPTCHA
CAPTCHA forms are necessary for some web applications, but there is no reason not to provide a text version for people who can’t hear or understand the audio. This way, they won’t have to go through a separate process to sign up.
5. Make sure your site is compatible with screen readers and text-to-speech
Before making your website accessible, it’s important to ensure that all content is compatible with popular screen readers and text-to-speech programs. Without proper compatibility, people who use these applications won’t access your site. The following tools can help you test your site:
- JAWS – Test the website pages you want to test in Internet Explorer.
- NVDA – This free tool will read any file, even if it’s not compatible with your screen reader.
- HTML5 Outliner – Use this application to determine whether or not elements on your page are properly marked up.
- Wave – This tool is for people who use Chrome, Opera, Safari, or Firefox.
Making your website accessible to everyone is not only the right thing to do, but it can also make good business sense. By following some simple best practices, you can ensure that your website is welcoming and usable for everyone, including people with disabilities.