In today’s world, most people understand the importance of accommodations like accessible parking spaces and wheelchair ramps to provide people with disabilities access to businesses. However, many business owners don’t think about providing accessibility when they are building their websites.
And they really should. If just wanting all people to be able to access their business is not enough incentive to provide an accessible website, then business owners should consider that more and more businesses have been sued over inaccessible websites. The ADA requires that “businesses open to the public provide full and equal enjoyment of their goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations to people with disabilities”, and this includes on their websites.
Here are some steps you can take to ensure that your business website is accessible to those with disabilities.
Provide Alternative Text for Images
Including descriptive alternative text (often called alt text) for images is essential for users who rely on screen readers. Alt text provides a textual description of the image, enabling visually impaired users to understand the content conveyed by the image.
Use Semantic HTML
Structuring your web pages with semantic HTML elements (such as headings, paragraphs, and lists) enhances the readability and organization of your content. This improves navigation for users of screen readers and assistive technologies, ensuring they can access and interpret the page correctly.
Ensure Color Contrast
Maintaining sufficient color contrast between text and background is vital for users with visual impairments. When in doubt, remember that the greater the contrast, the better. Black or other dark colors on white or other very light colors is easiest to read for everyone.
Implement Keyboard Accessibility
Design your website to be fully accessible via keyboard navigation alone. Users who cannot use a mouse or other pointing devices should be able to navigate, interact, and access all functionality using only the keyboard. Ensure interactive elements like buttons and links are easily reachable and focusable.
Include Captions and Transcripts
Provide captions for videos and audio content, making them accessible to users with hearing impairments. Additionally, offer transcripts for multimedia content, allowing users to access the information in an alternative text format.
Write Descriptive Links and Headings
Use clear and descriptive link anchor text that accurately represents the destination page. Use meaningful headings to structure your content, making it easier for screen readers and users to navigate and understand the information hierarchy.
Ensure Form Accessibility
Design forms with accessibility in mind. Use proper labeling and form field instructions, and provide clear error messages. Remember that color alone is not a good way to convey information, as people who are color-blind may not be able to see the differences in color. Consider including additional visual cues for required fields and provide validation errors in an accessible manner.
Stay Up to Date
Remember that as the web evolves, regulations and best practices do too. Keep up-to-date with accessibility guidelines and standards, such as the WCAG, as they evolve over time. Stay informed about new accessibility techniques and best practices to continuously improve the accessibility of your website.
At Kite Media, we believe that the web is for everyone and thus should be accessible to all. We strive to design websites with accessibility in mind and continuously work to find ways to improve. You can follow these tips to do the same, or ask your web designer what steps have been taken to make your website accessible. Together we can make the web a better, more accessible place.