Your site’s potential audience spans across everyone who finds themselves online, and nowadays, that more or less means the entire population.
But, how do you make sure your site caters to everyone and their individual needs? How do you make sure that every user is getting the best experience possible from your site?
According to statistics, 13.9 million people in the UK have a disability, and over a billion across the world. Disabilities can come in my forms, and some can drastically impact the way users are able to access the content they need online. This can include disabilities like visual impairment, hearing loss, physical disabilities and learning difficulties – just to name a few.
So, we thought we’d share just some of the ways you can adapt your site to make sure that it can be easily accessed by everyone; making your site and it’s content inclusive for as many people as possible.
Education and Understanding
The first step to having an inclusive and accessible website is having a great understanding of how technology and people with disabilities come together, so you can begin to adapt your designs and content to ensure it’s as inclusive as possible. This may include learning about certain disabilities that particularly hinders someone’s use of the internet and exploring online.
It calls for you to put yourself in the position of the user, and acknowledging that not everyone’s experience will be the same. This is how you can begin making sure that you cover all bases so everyone can get the most out of your website.
It might also include raising your awareness of the certain assistive technologies some people may use to help them on the internet, and how your website can accommodate that.
Speaking of assistive technologies, many people with disabilities use keyboards as their sole way of accessing sites online as they are unable to use a mouse
This means making important areas on your site, like links, content and the navigation menu, accessible via a keyboard. One simple way of making this possible is enabling all areas of your site to be accessed via the ‘tab’ key. This will mean people can navigate around your site through the use of their keyboard, by simply pressing the tab button. This will not only help those who are unable to use a mouse but those who use audio description technology as they explore your site and its content to learn more about your services.
Strategic Colour Design
Colour is a large part of website design, and when taking accessibility into consideration, the colours you choose can contribute to your site being inclusive and accessible. Certain colour combinations and contrasts can help those with visual impairments to read your site. This can be applied to your site alone, or to your accessibility features that can be switched on and off depending on the user.
This usually involves making sure you are placing light texts on dark backgrounds, or visa versa, to make text stand out as much as possible. This assists those with colour blindness and other visual impairments to read content and navigate their way through your site.
There are many online tools available, like Monsido, that allow you to check and ensure that your chosen colour palette is easy to read for everyone; ones that make sure the contrast works well in making your content stand out and easy to read.
Implementing Alt Tags
Another simple way you can amp up your site’s accessibility is adding alt tags to your images and links. Alt tags are the little descriptions that pop up when a user hovers over a part of your site, like an image or title. This gives a short description of what the image or content is, which can make for better understanding, and for those who are visually impaired, it can allow their audio descriptive systems to pick up this additional information so they too can get the best experience from your site.
Your website content as a whole should always be clear, concise and easy to read. But when taking the inclusivity of your site into consideration, you should pay particular attention to making every aspect of your content, from the written word to the way it’s laid out, easy to access and contributing to overall user experience.
This means using clear headers to structure your content, making sure to explain more specialised and technical jargon, expanding on acronyms and even inserting periods, or full stops, between abbreviations to ensure audience wide understanding.
When it comes to content, it’s all about putting the user at the forefront of your mind; taking on board their needs, and asking yourself: what could make this as easy and as pleasant as possible? And this can also be applied to every little detail of your website when making sure it’s inclusive and accessible.
Do you need help making sure your site is inclusive? Limely is here to help.