Your website is the heart of your business, and you want it to be accessible to people who use assistive technologies. Making your website accessible improves usability for everyone, including people with disabilities who rely on screen readers like JAWS or Voice Over (Mac) and people visiting your site from mobile devices with smaller screens. If you want to improve the accessibility of your website and make it more user-friendly to all visitors, here are five quick ways:
Heading tags are used to break up the content on a page and can also be used to organize the information on your site. Headings should be used to structure your content, making it easier for humans and search engines to understand what’s being said.
Headings are also important because they indicate the importance of different sections of your page:
- H1 (the largest) is reserved for titles, headlines, or names of major sections; use this tag only once per page!
- H2s should be used for subheadings within an article or post (like “How-To Guides”). They’re not meant for paragraphs of text unless there’s an extremely relevant reason why those particular paragraphs deserve their heading level–and even then, I’d recommend using CSS styling instead so that readers can customize their reading experience if desired.
Making Your Content Easy to Scan
Making your content easy to scan is an important part of making it accessible. When you’re writing, consider how someone will read through your page.
- Use lists to break up long paragraphs of text by giving each point its line and number. If a list has more than three items, it’s also best to use subheadings (like this).
- Use headings in HTML tags (e.g., etc.) or bold text for emphasis on important information or steps in step-by-step instructions (e.g., “Step 1: Make sure you have all the ingredients”). Please remember italics! They’re also great when emphasizing words within sentences, but don’t overdo it!
Using the Correct Labels and Descriptors for Images, Videos, and Forms
Using the correct labels and descriptors for images, videos, forms, and other elements is an easy way to make your website more accessible.
Descriptors are the text that describes an image or video on your site. They can also be used for other elements like forms or links. Descriptors should be clear and concise – they’re not meant as a replacement for alt text on images (which provides context about what’s in that image), but rather provide additional information about what is happening in an image or video so that screen readers can understand what’s happening on the screen. For example: “A woman wearing glasses sits at her desk” vs. “A woman wearing glasses sitting at her desk.”
Avoiding Flashing or Flickering Content
Avoiding flashing or flickering content
You can avoid this by using a tool such as the Flashing Content Checker. This will allow you to check for flickering content on your website, which may be an accessibility issue if a user is sensitive to it. Here are some examples of where flickering content can be found:
- Animated images (like GIFs) with a speed setting greater than 1 frame per second (fps). For example, if you have an animated GIF image set at 10 fps, it would flicker as each frame changes quickly.
- Text that moves quickly from one side of the screen to another when viewed by someone who has difficulty focusing their eyes on objects close up or far away from them–for example, people with presbyopia (age-related difficulties focusing).
Providing Alt Text for all Images.
The alt text for an image shows up when a user has images turned off. It should be descriptive and meaningful so that if you lose sight or hearing, you can still understand what the image is trying to convey. The alt text should also be 50–60 characters long, in lowercase letters (no capitalization).
Accessibility is Important to Make Sure That Your Website Works for Everyone
Accessibility is important to make sure that your website works for everyone. It’s not just about people with disabilities, it’s also about search engine optimization and mobile users.
The W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) defines accessibility as:
- Equal opportunity for all people to use the web, regardless of disability or device type (e.g., mobile phone).
- The design and development of websites are compatible with current standards so that all people can use them without difficulty or unnecessary hardship.
There are many ways to improve your website’s accessibility. The most important thing is to start with the basics: ensure all your content is properly tagged, use descriptive alt-text on images, and check that any videos used are captioned. Beyond that, you can take a few extra steps to go above and beyond what the law requires. Need help improving your website accessibility, get in touch!