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11Oct

Support Consumers’ Desire for Inclusivity by Making Your Website Accessible

October 11, 2019

Time and time again, consumers prove that they value and frequent those companies that take an active, inclusive approach to their business.

Businesses of every kind have taken note, too. With the help of The AbleGamers Charity, The Cerebral Palsy Foundation, SpecialEffect and Warfighter Engaged, Microsoft released the Xbox Adaptive Controller and accessories to open up gaming to a huge range of differently abled gamers.

What is seen as an inclusive space has changed, however. For instance, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) once only spoke to avenues of accessibility that we encounter in our day-to-day lives – parking spaces, doorway access and seating are old news.

Accessible public spaces now include the burgeoning online marketplace of information, goods, and services. That’s right: websites are the new doorway to your business, and the headlines reflect this change. For instance, in a recent victory for disability rights, Domino’s was denied a chance to appeal a ruling stating that it must make its site and app accessible.

This just underlines that, in the digital age, while an accessible site will enhance your brand and extend your market reach, accessibility also demonstrates your business’s willingness to empower those with different and changing abilities.

Of course, wanting an accessible website and actually making it happen are different animals.

Following the WCAG guidelines for web accessibility is a reliable way to make your site accessible and inclusive, for a start. Read on to discover the most common accessibility pitfalls and some easy, WCAG-guided ways to fix them. Start creating an inclusive, socially responsible brand and website.

Fix That Color Contrast

People with changing visual abilities can find it hard to enjoy content on a page when the contrast is too low. This can include people with color blindness, those with impaired vision and those who experience loss of sensitivity to contrast due to the aging process.

The WCAG guidelines recommend a contrast ratio of 4.5 to 1 for normal text, with 3 to 1 recommended for large text. Tackle this issue first to give your site a quick boost to its inclusive and accessible design.

Enable Keyboard Access and Visual Prompts

Physical changes that affect the use of a mouse or changes to vision mean websites need to have all web functionality accessible through the keyboard.

Browsers should use a dotted or blue line surrounding content representing the keyboard’s current point of focus. Making this update will help users navigate, make choices, purchases and submit forms. Help them undertake intent that requires action!

Create Images with Alt Text

Alt text provides a description of images found on your website so that those with vision disabilities can access a description of the image.

  • Each image on your site must be linked to an “IMG ALT” attribute.
  • IMG ALT attributes should mention if the image has a function.

Other items to watch out for with alt text include:

  • Using text which is too brief to provide an accurate description
  • Failing to label regions in maps with an ALT attribute
  • Long text which makes functions unclear

Clarify Your Element Labels

Properly labeled page elements, like buttons, make it easy for users to understand what each element will do on the page. Assistive technology tools often attempt to auto-correct when appropriate labeling is missing – but this can lead to incorrect labeling.

Fix this “hot-button” issue (sorry for the pun) to quickly stop clicks and form submissions from erratic, annoying – and problematic – behavior.

Use Descriptive Text for Hyperlinks

When link text does not provide sufficient detail, it makes it hard to understand the purpose of the link without additional context. An example of this would be a link titled “click here.” Most users will be asking: “Click here for what?”

Repair Text Resizing

When reading a website, individuals with impaired vision may need to increase text size to read content without using a screen reader.

However, when text size is increased on some websites, it results in the loss of valuable site information or overlapping content.

Accessible website design enables text to reflow to use the existing space without overlapping.

Start Your Website Compliance Check

Knowing and fixing these accessibility gaps will get you well on your way to a more accessible website, better engagement and a brand-new, publicly visible way to demonstrate your commitment to a world accessible to all.

Not sure if your website is inclusive or ADA compliant?

User1st offers the most advanced web accessibility solutions for organizations to reach more users and achieve the highest level of ADA compliance, usability and inclusivity. Take your first step to accessibility by testing your site’s accessibility – for free! Visit the Chrome Store and start your web compliance check with our accessibility testing tool, uTester.

[Download the Accessibility Tester]

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