How to Make Sure Your Website Is Fully Accessible
Web accessibility allows anyone to use the web, particularly those who have disabilities. According to the World Wide Web Consortium, an accessible website is one that people with disabilities can understand or perceive, navigate, operate, use, and interact with easily and conveniently. Accessibility benefits others as well, including the elderly.
Enacted in 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) provides legal protection to people with disabilities when accessing places of public accommodations. The law required all government offices and business establishments to make the necessary improvements needed to make their buildings accessible to people with disabilities.
With the increasing use of the web in private and commercial transactions, the ADA was amended in 2008 to expand the definition of “places of public accommodation” to include websites, software applications, tools, platforms, and other forms of information technology.
But ensuring accessibility is not only a legal requirement; it should also be a social responsibility of web developers, testers, and other software professionals.
Creating an accessibility guide and statement serves numerous purposes. Primarily, it manifests an organization’s sincere commitment to making their site accessible to all. It also defines their accessibility goals, what steps were taken to achieve those goals, what accessibility standards were used, and how people with disabilities can make better use of the website or software.
Making the Web Accessible
The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) lays down the success criteria for web accessibility, along with a detailed list of recommendations to make any website accessible.
With the majority of people with disabilities relying on the keyboard or similar devices to browse the web, keyboard navigation is a major requirement for web accessibility. This involves making sure that all features, buttons, pages, and functionalities can be accessed using the keyboard without a mouse.
Incorporating alternative text to images, videos, and other non-text content helps people who have poor vision, as well as those who are unable to hear or understand these types of content.
Transcripts for Audio
Adding transcripts to audio content is an easy way to make content accessible, especially to people with hearing problems.
Headers for Structuring Content
The use of headers can make a website look more organized and structured, which contributes to accessibility. They also make content easy to read, which is helpful not only for users with vision issues, but also for those who have cognitive issues.
It is a must for an accessible website to have forms that are concise and easy to follow. Such forms should also be organized in a logical manner and be keyboard-accessible.
Removal of Automated Media
Automated media makes websites less accessible. Users should be given the choice to view or not view content without any difficulty or inconvenience.
Web accessibility allows everyone, regardless of age or ability, to use the internet and software products with ease and convenience. It takes only a few steps to make your products fully accessible, so keep accessibility in mind and you’re designing, developing, and testing.