According to Best Website Accessibility, "97% of websites are not complying with the global web regulations." This shows that we all can do more to make our websites accessible to disabled users.
Other than it's morally the right thing to do, there are other additional benefits of making your website accessible.
Firstly, we have all been on websites that don't work, are slow, you can't access the information you were looking for and it just makes you so frustrated. Now imagine having to put up with the above on virtually every website you visit on the internet.
Fixing your website's accessibility issues will allow you to show your product or services to more people while improving their user experience which is going to make them far more likely to spend money with your business over your competitors. It's estimated that billions of dollars are wasted every year by companies that don't have accessible websites.
How can you make your website accessible?
You can either manually make changes to your website so that it becomes accessible or you can use third-party tools that can do the same for you. In this post, we will discuss both.
Manually improving your accessibility
To improve the accessibility of your website manually you are going to need to consider the needs of people with different disabilities. Some will have difficulty with their eyes, ears or mobility.
For people with visual issues, you will want to make the design of your website as friendly as possible to them. You can do this by giving them the option of font sizes, using colours that don't clash and have good visibility.
You will also want to make sure that your website is coded in a semantically correct way so that screen readers can read out the content of the website with ease. Screen reading technology is powerful but it does have problems with reading images and any text inside them.
To help screen reading technology you will need to provide additional context about the images on your website and you can do this by using something called an ALT tag. An ALT tag can be added to any image and should be used to describe the image in detail.
A good example of an ALT tag would be: "2010 Macbook Pro being used in the office environment". Sometimes ALT texts are abused by marketers where they spam their keywords in an attempt to trick Google and the other search engines into ranking the page higher for certain searches. Don't do this as it doesn't help the accessibility of your website and it can confuse people using screen reading software.
For users with mobility issues, they may not have the mobility to use a mouse so other equipment such as adaptive keyboards has to be used. Typically someone using an adaptive keyboard clicks a button such as the TAB button to move from one link to another on your website.
However, most websites have disabled the code that shows the link the person is on making it next to impossible to navigate a site in this way. The equivalent to this is using a mouse without a visible cursor.
The above can be fixed by allowing the "focus" rule in CSS to be shown. Unfortunately, sites with dropdowns and complex navigations make it very difficult for someone using an adaptive keyboard to use.
For some website owners going back through their website making the above changes is going to be time-consuming and they may not have the technical knowledge to do so in the first place.
If this sounds like you but you still want to fix your website's accessibility issues you can use third-party software that you just have to install and let the software do the rest. Software such as AccessiBe can be installed on your website and within hours it can improve the accessibility issues that were stopping your disabled users from accessing your website.
There are many free and paid versions of software out there that can help so if you are unsure of the best option for you check out this guide on the best website accessibility solutions for website owners.
Accessibility can be confusing to those who don't have any issues with browsing the internet. It can also be confusing for those who aren't developers or people who don't have technical experience. Hopefully, with this post, you now have a better idea of some of the problems disabled users face when browsing the internet and how to fix them.