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Five Ways to Make Your Website More Accessible

Five Ways to Make Your Website More Accessible
25 November 2021 | Updated 24 November 2021
 

Imagine if you could only access 2% of the internet. Persons with disabilities are living in that world, and businesses should continue innovating to create truly inclusive platforms and experiences built for everyone, by everyone. 

According to the Family Resources Survey 2018/19, 14.1 million people in the UK reported having a disability, consisting of 8 per cent of the child population, 19 per cent of the working-age population, and 45 per cent of the pension age population.

 

What is Web Accessibility?

 

In a nutshell, web accessibility means designing a website so that people with a disability can access the same information and do the same things as others. Disabilities might include auditory, cognitive, physical and other.

Data also shows that the internet offers essential healthcare access for people with disabilities. Office for National Statistics 2020 data found that 23 per cent of people with a disability used an online health service, compared to 13 per cent of people without a disability.   

As some disabilities are invisible, websites should also be accessible to users of all abilities. In fact, businesses could be losing customers, or even breaking the law if the websites are not accessible for all.

Michelle Stark, Sales and Marketing Director at Fasthosts commented: “All users should have the same positive experience when visiting a website. In fact, 'compliance' is the minimum of what you should aim to implement, and achieving the best possible experience for all your customers should be the ultimate goal.”

Fasthosts has compiled expert tips for improving website accessibility:

 

 

1. Add in Alt-Text

 

Images and other non-text content should have descriptive alternative text (alt-text) added to them so they can be read by a screen reader. Alt text also helps search engines understand your non-text content better. Users with visual impairments may rely on assistive technologies, like a screen reader, to complete actions on websites. That can include filling out a form, accessing a PDF, or reading text. Using generic link text like "learn more" and "click here" provide no context to screen reader users. All link text should therefore make sense when read in isolation.

 

2. Increase Font Size

 

As simple as it sounds, by offering an enlarged text option to users your website’s content can be read more easily and without changing the page layout.

This can actually benefit all website users, not just people with visual impairments. For example, older users, users with a poor Internet connection, or users who like reading video captions rather than listening to the sound in a noisy environment.

 

3. Enhance Keyboard Navigation

 

All website functionalities should be available using a keyboard only. Keyboard users typically use the tab key to navigate through elements on a website, but most users with a disability rely on assistive technology, like a screen reader, to navigate through a website. So, it’s fundamental for websites to have keyboard-only navigation.

 

4. Avoid Using Tables

 

Screen readers afford users special functionality within tables by querying the row and column headers with any specific cell. As this might be quite confusing if the tables do not have detailed captions, it’s advisable to avoid using a lot of tables in your website content, particularly complex tables with multiple rows and columns.

 

5. Build in Change

 

Making your website more accessible doesn’t always mean that you have to edit your existing content and page’s layout. But adding new video content, transcribing the audio of your existing content and making it accessible for users with disabilities will be highly beneficial.

The full study can be found here.

Picture: a photograph showing a laptop on a desk. The screen shows a product website, with a picture of a sofa. Also on the desk is a drinking mug, a computer mouse, a smartphone, pen and paper and an open magazine.

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 25 November 2021

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