Digital accessibility is the practice of making websites and content usable by people with disabilities. Integrating accessibility is vital for people with disabilities, as inaccessible websites can restrict access to information and limit participation in activities.
Accessibility touches on every element of the website’s creation. Members of staff who write content for your website need to know how to use software to create properly structured, accessible information. Before publishing your website or your content, ask these questions/check for the following:
Have you provided a suitable text equivalent for everything that’s not text? Use alternative text to describe the important information contained in an image, chart, or graph.
Poor alt text: A person in a costume
Better alt text: Statue of Tommy Trojan USC mascot
Can customers get all the important information from your videos and audio even if they can’t see or hear them?
Provide text transcripts and captions for audio content, such as recordings of a podcast interview, or add a sign language interpretation of audio content.
Headings and structure
- Did you use the menu and tool bar to specify headings, lists, tables and language changes?
When information is properly structured, people with disabilities can use assistive technology to help them navigate and understand that information.
- Have you constructed your website properly so that it will work on as many modern computers, phones, and browsers as possible?
Consider if your website requires a specific version of a web browser to fully operate or your video only plays using a specific plug-in. Program forms to include features for alternative inputs such as keyboard or voice commands. Not enough spacing between sections of a page can be confusing visually and cognitively.
Color and contrast
- Is there enough color contrast between the website’s written information and its background?
People with low vision may not see the full range of colors. Be sure that contrast for text and images with text has a contrast ratio of at least 4.5:1. If you’re unsure, test your color palette with a tool such as the TPGI colour contrast checker.
Functionality and navigation
- Can your customers use your website with only a keyboard?
Creating a site with well-organized content that can be navigated using only a keyboard provides users with disabilities an equal opportunity to experience the website fully based on their needs. Test this out by disconnecting your mouse or trackpad. You should be able to interact with the website content as you would if you were using a mouse.
- Does your website give your customers enough time to read and use it?
Content that times out or disappears before a user has a chance to interact with it can be frustrating. Give users warning of a timed event and allow them the opportunity to extend the time to complete their action.
- Have you made sure that there is no flashing content?
Content that is animated and flashes at certain rates can be harmful to those with photosensitive disorders. Avoid such content or present users with a warning of the nature of the content beforehand.
- Does your website explain your customers’ mistakes clearly and allow them to correct easily?
Providing measures to ensure that users avoid or correct mistakes is essential. This can help people who do not see or hear the content or may not recognize implicit relationships, sequences, and other cues on web elements such as forms.
Clear and understandable content
- Can your customers read and understand your information easily?
Text content should be readable and understandable in all the formats it is presented. The level of comprehension of the text should cater to the broadest audience possible so that it is inclusive to those with learning disabilities and cognitive limitations.
- Is the content on your website consistent throughout all pages?
Ensure that the content on your site follows a predictable and consistent pattern and interface. Navigation menus, links, and text sections must be easy to locate and identify. Group related form labels and instructions and use headers to distinguish between different content areas of a web page, A consistent design can help users learn to navigate the site quickly and follow predictable patterns to achieve certain goals on a site.