Nowadays there are various fancy technologies that heightened the pressure on website owners to have an optimized and impeccably accessible website for their users. However, website accessibility is not merely about improving its accessibility ranking but it would also mean that the site users or your audience can navigate your site easily and be able to access the required information without any time wastage. However, if you are unsure about what to do to make your website more accessible, we have a few amazing tips that will help you do just that.
1. CMS Comes First
The first thing that you need to double-check is the CMS or Content Management System that you have selected for your website. There are several tools now that help you with website development and maintenance, like WordPress or Drupal. After selecting the CMS, pick a template or the theme on the list of “accessible” themes. Generally, you can easily find this information in the template details or specifications. As a rule of thumb, it is a good practice to review the documentation and notes that come along with a template for theme-related tips on creating content that is accessible and optimizing that specific template for accessibility. You will be doing the same thing while installing widgets, modules, or plugins. This is important because the simple rule is, in order to have an accessible website, everything you include on your website must be accessible.
In addition to this, there are other aspects involved in creating websites like video players and toolbar editing, in which you have to ensure that you can create accessible content through them. An example would be having options for easy-to-access tables and headings or the option of closed captions in video players. Moreover, things that relate to CMS administration, including content creation or comments, ought to be accessible too.
2. Audit Your Website
Your website can gradually deteriorate in quality and performance. In reality, the site does not differ much from a car, it needs care and regular maintenance. When you look into the science of optimizing websites, various sites offer intuitive insights about auditing your website. In relation to that, the WCAG accessibility audit resources enlist website audit as one of the most significant methods for helping your online platform succeed. This would help you identify potential problems lurking around your website and you can rectify them or work on optimizing your website further.
3. Organize Your Web Content for Success
Unorganized web content happens to be one of the most common mistakes that most website owners make. Having organized website content is important because if not, it will undermine its accessibility more than anything else. It helps your users substantially in navigating around your site. Moreover, when you are using the heading levels strategically and correctly, the content is more readable as well. It is important to stick to the correct heading order instead of picking just any level that you like at that moment. Not having a pre-thought organization strategy will result in chaos. Therefore, it is best to be meticulously organized when it comes to content presentation.
4. Name Your Links Carefully
If you are using links in the content, ensure that you have appropriate supportive text for each link to go with. However, too many websites consider placing a "Click this" phrase, which is appropriate enough but is average. Using descriptive text that is unique and according to the context of the link is useful for your readers, especially those who may be visually impaired. Instead of putting up "Click here to find more details about our company," you may place "If you want to learn more about our company, read About Us."
5. Use Color Consciously
Staying empathetic towards your potential users or readers is important and that applies to using colors around your website. You may be surprised to know that about 8% of the population suffers from red-green color deficiency. So, if you want your site to be accessible and user-friendly, it is important to avoid using colors that may exclude a particular group of users. For instance, in important areas like forms or other required fields, avoid using merely red or green color because it would prevent a certain group from comprehending your web content. In addition to using color, you may add an asterisk or other symbols and add explanatory text. If there is a separate content block, then you must use visual separators, which may include borders or appropriate spacing.
6. Accessibility of Dynamic Content
Dynamic content cannot be discounted from the list of accessibility requirements. This includes lightboxes, screen overlays, pop-ups, in-page updates, and modal dialogs. For making these features accessible, ARIA roles or alerts can be used or different frameworks that offer enough accessibility. If there is a slideshow on your website, ensure that each image has descriptive text. If there are videos embedded around, ensure as well that the video players are not set to auto-play.
7. Have Tabular Data? Arrange it Properly!
Using tables is a great idea to organize data, however, tables are not recommended for layout purposes. This is because if a user is using a screen reader, it would make this quite a verbose experience for them. On the other hand, if a data table is absolutely necessary, utilize headers for the columns and rows so the relationship of the cells can be explained appropriately.
8. Secure Optimized and Accessible Forms
If your website has forms with poor labels, it will look unattractive on the overall accessibility rating. For some users, it may be hard to figure out what should go in a particular field. Therefore, ensure that all the fields in a form have descriptive and well-positioned labels. For instance, if a field is for a user’s name, the descriptive label should state “full name.” Using ARIA with a ”true” or “false” requirement also helps greatly because this way, the user would realize which of the fields are required. You may also add asterisks to indicate a mandatory field. Moreover, using CAPTCHA in forms is intuitive as well in keeping spammers at bay.
These little changes or updates are just starters for a general user but incorporating them into your website will make a huge difference in overall accessibility. You will realize that not only its ranking is better but your readership will improve as well. A user-friendly website with optimal accessibility is nothing less than a blessing and your followers and audience will certainly appreciate this.