When you’re designing your website, your first instinct is likely to ensure that it looks good and that everything works as intended. This is all well and good, but there’s another thing that you should also consider: accessibility.
What this means is that you and your chosen professional web design services should strive to make a website that can be used by anyone—even those with disabilities.
Indeed, everyone benefits from accessibility. On your end, creating a website that caters to a larger audience helps boost your online visibility and earning potential. It also shows that you care about your customers. Meanwhile, on the other end of the spectrum, an accessible website gives people with disabilities a way to access their needs in a way that’s convenient to them.
Fortunately, there are many things you can do to make your website more accessible. Here are just a few:
Enable Keyboard Navigation
Not everyone can use a computer mouse. For example, a person with severe arthritis or Parkinson’s disease may find it difficult to move the mouse cursor where they want it to go or to click the correct button. Thus, to make your website more accessible, you need to make your website fully navigable with just a keyboard.
Enabling keyboard navigation is usually done through coding. If your website is still under construction, make sure to tell your web developer to add this function. If your website is already online, test its keyboard navigation by pressing the tab key. Doing this should let you access different parts of the page, such as the menus, scroll arrows, text boxes, links, and the like. If your website doesn’t have keyboard navigation, have your web developer apply the necessary changes.
Add a Feature to Enlarge Text
Millions of people all over the world have vision problems, which make it difficult to read content in small text. To make things a little easier for those with poor eyesight, give them the option to enlarge the text on your website without breaking the layout. You should also make a call to action (CTA) buttons more visible through a combination of appropriate font size and color contrast.
Choose High-Contrast Colors
Speaking of color contrast, choosing high-contrast colors also makes it easier for people—whether they have vision problems or not—to read whatever is on your website. The most obvious combination is black and white, but you can always experiment with different colors as long as they yield your desired result.
That said, make sure you don’t rely on colors too much. Keep in mind that there are also some people who are also color blind. If you need to call attention to something, consider using text prompts like “Items in bold text are required.”
Use Alt Text for Images
Some persons with visual impairments use a screen reader to help them understand what’s on the screen. The problem is, screen readers only work on the text. If there are any images on the page, the program won’t be able to make sense of them. This is where alt texts or alt descriptions come in.
In simple terms, alt text describes what is on the image or picture. The screen reader will then relay this information to the user. Make sure to use clear language when developing alt text, and to consider the context of the image to prevent confusion. Also, if there is text in the image (e.g., a chart or infographic), the text should also be part of the alt text.
Do note, however, that not all images on a page should have alt text. For example, if you’re using a picture of a vine as a border, there’s no need to include an alt text for it.
Also read: 8 Best Image Optimization Tips for Website
Add Subtitles and Transcripts to Videos
Adding videos to your website can increase engagement. To further bolster your numbers, provide both subtitles and transcripts. This way, those hard of hearing, visually impaired, and other persons with similar disabilities can still appreciate what’s on the screen.
Using video subtitles and transcripts can also help your audience in general to understand what’s being said. Think about how many times you’ve watched movies with subtitles. This is the same concept, only applied to the content on your website.
Follow Proper Heading Structures
Last but not least, if your website has a lot of text content, it’s a must to follow proper heading structures or hierarchies. This helps screen readers better interpret and navigate your content, without confusing the user.
When making your headings, don’t just edit them visually; rather, make sure to also include the correct codes. The tags should also be in order. Don’t skip from <h1> to <h3> or any other variation of this, as a screen reader will likely interpret this as missing content.
It doesn’t take much to make your website more accessible. However, you do have to be more conscientious about it because you’re likely seeing things from a non-disabled perspective first. Take note of these design accessibility tips so you can make your website more user-friendly to everyone.