Modern business websites emphasize accessibility and usability for all users, including those with impairments. Accessible websites are now the norm, whereas they were once the exception. Having an accessible website protects you from potential lawsuits and ensures your business reaches the widest audience possible and is, therefore, a competitive differentiator. Following are several necessary steps to ensure your business is accessible and usable for all potential visitors, regardless of impairments.
Add Alternative Text (aka "Alt Text") for Images and Media
Application of alternative text for images on your website results in the readability of such elements for visitors using text-to-speech software to consume your content audibly. In addition, alt text has the benefit of helping your website's search engine rankings as search bots can more effectively crawl and index the images for keyword relevance. Videos can also be available in different formats for accessibility. Make sure that videos also have captions for users who are hearing impaired.
Use Accessible Fonts
Fonts that have too much style or design tend to be inaccessible to impaired visitors. While screen readers can help convert the text to audible output, using a simplistic and straightforward font is the best solution. Also, complex fonts can cause migraines or eye strains for some visitors. Instead of using fonts based on personal preference, use more simple ones that are dark and contrast well with the background of your web pages. The most recommended fonts are Times New Roman, Verdana, Arial, Tahoma, Helvetica, and Calibri.
Sufficient Color Contrast
The color contrast is determined by how each of the colors used on a website is distinguishable from another. Examples include the colors of menu buttons, headers, footers, and banners among various pages. If colors are too similar and bear little distinction, your website may be difficult to consume by impaired visitors. Using sufficient color contrast allows your website content to stand out such that users with limited visual capabilities can find and read the information they need.
Easy Site Navigation
Website popups can be a marketing tool, but they can also be one of the most disruptive and annoying features for visitors. Any feature of your website irritating to unimpaired users will be magnified several times for impaired users, causing the latter to abandon the site quickly. Instead of using flashy, distracting designs that do not provide any added value, keep your navigation simple with easily distinguishable buttons and page links. In addition, divide your text logically into sections and paragraphs, so readers know where they are on the page and your site at all times.
The essence of an excellent website design is maximizing accessibility to your audience. There are many tools available to help you test your website and patch up any accessibility issues. From the font styles to the images and captions, it is vital to cover all essential components for making a fully accessible website. As you work with your design team to develop your business website, ensure that these areas are a point of emphasis in your project plan.
Website Accessibility Auditing Tools
Bureau of Internet Accessibility