We hear a lot about accessibility and inclusivity these days; it’s important to make sure people of every ability level have access to things they need in order to do their daily tasks. But what about your website? Since a website is online, it doesn’t have any bathrooms, parking lots, or stairs, so how does accessibility apply to a website?
A Word About ADA Accessibility
An ADA Accessible website means that anyone can access it. An estimated 19% of people in the US have a disability, so if you aren’t making sure that disabled people can use your site, you could be losing about ⅕ of your market share.
There are programs you can use to put your site to the test for this. Programs like Google Lighthouse and WAVE are good places to start. They will run your website through the gamut of tests and give you suggestions of things to change.
How WordPress Makes Accessibility Easy
If you are building your website with WordPress, they have quite a few tools to make sure your website is Accessible.
In their theme directory, you can sort by accessibility-ready themes. For these themes to be included in the directory, they must meet strict guidelines for over a dozen qualifications set by the WordPress Theme Review team, adhering to the guidelines put forth in the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0. If a theme doesn’t pass, it doesn’t get the accessible tag. Using their themes is a good place to start, but there are other things to remember also.
One way accessibility applies to websites is for those who are visually impaired. This could refer to being colorblind or varying levels of visual impairment.
Visually impaired people may need to use a screen reader service to read and navigate websites for them. Because a screen reader does not comprehend some website features, such as images or charts, your website should be designed in such a way to make it easy to read without seeing. Having heading tags, text set up in columns, and specific alternative text on your images all help the web crawlers read your pages as well.
Also, consider how the colors of your website work with each other. We’ve all seen those ads where the colors hurt your eyes, right? Sometimes colors just shouldn’t go together – not only because of a lack of visual appeal, but because a colorblind visitor won’t be able to see your content. Red-green colorblindness is the most common. Be aware of the colors of your links. If you use green to link your text, someone with red-green colorblindness won’t be able to see the contrast and know it’s clickable. Be aware of your contrasts and colors on infographics, also.
If images slide or move in any way, they should stay on the screen for at least 3 seconds before moving. Not only will people not be able to see what the image is, but anything faster could cause someone to have a seizure.
Make sure you have captions on your videos. This not only makes them accessible for the hearing impaired, but most people watch a video without the sound. According to a study done by Verizon Media in May of 2019, 69% of people report watching videos without sound in public places, and another 25% report watching them without sound in private places. Additionally, 80% of people using captions aren’t hearing impaired, and that same number of people say they are more likely to watch a video when captions are available. From these statistics, we can conclude how important captions are if you want people to watch your videos. You went through all that work to make a great video, make sure people watch it by adding captions. There are many tools that let you add captions to a video – some will even transcribe videos for you.
Another way to make your website accessible is by making sure it looks good on a mobile phone. According to Perficient Digital, 58% of all web visits in the US in 2018 were on mobile devices. That’s more than half of your visitors accessing your website using a mobile device! For this reason, it is very important for your website to be mobile-friendly. If it doesn’t you could be losing half of your potential customers!
Want to know more about how to make your website accessible? Connect with us today to see how we can help!