Accessibility and Your Website
This is the one area where the internet is starting to catch up with the rest of the world. Accessibility. Many web users are persons with disabilities and as website owners it is important that we take those visitors into consideration. Website accessibility is a very important factor in reaching out to all parties.
What is Website Accessibility?
Accessibility is a blanket term for making sure that something (e.g. a website or a business entrance) accessible to persons with disabilities. In the case of website accessibility it represents all the different scenarios where a visitor might need help navigating and using your website. This includes, but is not limited to, persons with vision impairments and mobility limitations.
Website Accessibility Options
A website is never done. I know that that is discouraging to those spending money on their website’s developments but, due to a changing internet and a changing society, there are changes that will always have to be made to a website. Accessibility is no different. The needs of your visitors will change as your website’s traffic increases. Still confused? Here’s a few examples of how a website can be optimized for accessibility.
Allowing your sites visitors to switch to a “High Contrast” view can help them to better see the text as they read an navigate your site. High contrast can also be helpful for persons with colorblindness.
A grey scale option will remove all color from the site. Persons with colorblindness can sometimes have issues due to colors bleeding together. The option to change the website to grey scale will remove some of the difficulties that can come from your sites color scheme.
Skip Nav Links
Skip Nav links give blind and low-sighted individuals the option of skipping to different sections of the website. It can get frustrating to deal with a site reader and not be able to skip past things like the repeated content in your sites header. Below are the basic Skip Nav link options.
Quick Links are like Skip Nav Links only they are site specific. Perhaps your website offer classes or a membership. You might want to add a link to login before all other content allowing people to skip right to that section.
The world is getting bigger everyday. Not only are people from other countries coming to your website, but people are living together in countries and speaking different languages. Make sure that you provide your site’s visitors with the option of translating your site, or at least defining your site’s language with webmaster tools.
HTML Dir Attribute
The dir attribute identifies the text direction of the content. Older versions of HTML have some limitation on where this tag can be used but, in HTML5 the dir attribute can be used on any HTML element.
<p dir="rtl">The words in this sentence are defined as right-to-left</p> <p dir="ltr">The words in this sentence are defined as left-to-right</p> dir="ltr|rtl|auto"
HTML 5 and ARIA Landmarks
Landmarks can be used simulary to Skip Nav Links.
HTML 5 Landmarks
Web developers should be used to the concept of HTML 5 Landmarks even though they might know them by the term “Semantic Elements”. HTML 5 Landmarks are wrappers in the code such as:<header>, <footer>, <section>
Screen readers can use these “Landmarks” to skip around to relevant content on the website.
ARIA (Accessible Rich Internet Applications) Landmarks work much in the same way that the HTML 5 Landmarks do, only with a different format in the code. ARIA uses tags such as: role=”banner” and role=”navigation”
Hot keys will allow users to navigate your site easier with the push of a button on the keyboard.
As stated before, a website is never complete. There are many more accessibility option you could pursue to make a better user experience for all of your sites users.
- Audio Renderings of Page Content
Creating an audio version of your web-page and linking to it from your Quick Links is a great option to getting visually impaired visitors using your site right away.
- Video Renderings of Page Content
A video rendering of your pages content offers yet another way for all people to enjoy your site.
Such as Alt Text for Images, Text-to-Speech (TTS) Support, Closed Captions for Videos, Accessible Forms, Focus Styles, Responsive Design, Cognitive Accessibility, Accessible Media Players, Browser Compatibility, Accessibility Policy, and more.
Remember that web accessibility is an ongoing process.