If you want your website to reach as many people as possible, you need to make sure that it is accessible. When thinking about accessibility, a lot of us only consider people with visual impairments (at least I know I did!), but there are actually a few different user groups that we have to keep in mind, which include:
- People with visual impairments – including blind users, users with low vision, colour impairments, age related conditions etc.
- Deaf and hard of hearing – people who’ve always been deaf, and to whom English is often a second language, people who became deaf, and anyone who is listening to audio on your website in a noisy environment, e.g. on a train
- Mobility impaired people – users falling under this group are often unable to use a mouse, and instead use a keyboard or a switch type device
- People with learning difficulties and disabilities – be it dyslexia, autism or general lack of understanding of jargon and technical terms
Now that we know what user groups we need to cater for, below are a few tips that you can use today, to make your website more accessible, no coding skills required:
- Text alternatives for images.
Make sure to always include text alternatives for your images. You can usually do this by providing an image description through your CMS.
- Use your headings in correct order.
This should be done according to importance, and the headings should be descriptive of the content that follows. The main heading on the page should be Heading 1 , then subheadings should be Heading 2, sub-subheadings Heading 3, and so on. This practice is not only good for screen readers and being able to easily scan the text, but will also have a positive impact on your SEO!
- Don’t create images with text on them.
Images with text on them cannot be resized, this can cause them to become blurry and pixelated when viewed on a mobile or using screen magnifier, which means the text becomes completely illegible.
- Always provide an audio transcript and captions.
Any audio files on your site should be accompanied by an audio transcript, and you should also provide captions for your videos. This ensures that people who are unable to hear audio, can still enjoy your audio files and videos, and understand what’s going on in the recordings.
- Use clear and simple language.
Not everyone is an expert in every field, so they might not be aware of all the latest jargon and buzz words. Make sure that your content is easy to understand for everyone, regardless of whether they have an extensive understanding of what you are writing about or not. Not being an expert in something, doesn’t mean you should not be able to read articles on topics you enjoy!
Well, there it is, five easy steps you can take to make your website more accessible. Can you think of any other easy and quick things you can do to make your website more accessible? Tweet us @spindogs and let us know!