Imagine for a moment how different your life would be if you were blind, deaf, or had a physical or intellectual disability. Would you work for the same job? Would you have access to the same hobbies? Would the way you go about your day be altered significantly? Understanding the difficulties that people with disabilities face every day is not only part of being a community member that makes a conscious effort for inclusion, but is part of our role as business leaders who have a responsibility to increase accessibility in our businesses and beyond.
Accessibility doesn’t begin and end with wheelchair ramps and flashing fire alarms. Accessibility extends into every aspect of our lives, including in the creation of web content. At Responsival, we make accessibility a priority in our responsive web design services, which is why we’re here to share the importance of online accessibility and five ways you can begin making more conscious decisions in your online marketing tactics.
Before breaking down five ways you can increase online accessibility, it’s important to understand why these efforts are so important. Of course, we know that maximizing accessibility is the right thing to do from a moral standpoint. If that in and of itself is not enough to make you want to increase your business’s online accessibility, check out these three other reasons:
No matter the reason you’re trying to increase accessibility in your site design, utilizing these 5 tips can help accomplish your accessibility goals:
A major source of the problem in creating accessible online content is a ‘we vs. them’ mentality. It’s common to imagine people with disabilities as a small minority, but the above toolkit from Microsoft challenges us to rethink the way we evaluate abilities - as a spectrum than affects all of us rather than a black and white differentiation. When looking to increase accessibility in your website, keep this idea in the back of your head and consider the challenges that people with permanent, temporary, and situational disabilities encounter.
Check for Color Contrast
About 1 in every 20 people are impacted by some type of color vision impairment, including color blindness. This inability to discern between some colors means that those offering design services must consider color contrast when reading a website. There are online resources available that allow you to check for low color contrast so that you can ensure your site is accessible and easy-to-read despite visual impairments.
Be Aware of On-Page Language
Here’s the thing -- using monstrous words and heavy jargon is not always the best way to go when it comes to writing website copy or online content. Writing copy for a webpage requires a careful balance of making yourself sound professional and knowledgable why maintaining accessibility for those with intellectual disabilities. Toss away super-long sentences, unnecessarily long works, and save your jargon for your first business meeting in order to retain accessibility on your site.
Additionally, be sure to use person-first language online. Person-first language ensures you are recognizing the person before recognizing his or her disability, maintaining a respectful and politically-correct environment. If you need help checking this, Grammarly has a person-first language checker.
People with visual impairments such as blindness often use screen readers to access online content. As an assistive tool for people who are blind or have an intellectual or learning disability, screen readers read aloud the text on a page. Because of this, it’s important to create descriptive CTA buttons, or call to action buttons, so that people using screen readers can navigate your site effectively. For instance, making your CTA “Sign Up Now!” is more descriptive and specific than a button that simply says “Click Here!”.
If your business has the budget, it’s well-advised to create alternative content that increases accessibility. Embedding video and audio effects into your site is a great way to not only make your site accessible but to welcome individuals with disabilities with open arms. Going to extra mile to increase accessibility with alternative content isn’t just about earning brownie points, though: it’s about taking steps as a community leader for a more accessible world as a whole.
Think it’s time to check on your website’s accessibility? Get in touch with Responsival - leaders in responsive web designs services - for a free ADA-compliance and accessibility check today.
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