9 Useful Tips to Improve Website Accessibility
Accessibility is an essential factor that is often overlooked in web design and development. Making websites accessible is critical as it ensures that all users, including those with special needs, can navigate and use the website with ease. Here are 9 useful tips that web developers and designers can employ to improve website accessibility.
Use Semantic HTML: Semantic HTML refers to the use of HTML tags to create a logical and meaningful structure of the website. By using semantic HTML, web developers and designers can provide context to the content on the website, which is particularly useful for screen readers used by visually impaired users. Semantic HTML tags like <header>, <footer>, <nav>, and <main> help screen readers understand the structure of the website and navigate it easily.
Keyboard Navigation: Keyboard navigation is an essential aspect of website accessibility, particularly for users with motor impairments or those who cannot use a mouse. Web developers should ensure that all website elements, including buttons and links, can be accessed using the keyboard alone. This can be achieved by using the tab key to move between elements and ensuring that the focus indicator is visible.
Color Contrast: Color contrast is critical for users with color blindness or low vision. Web developers should ensure that there is sufficient contrast between the foreground and background colors used on the website. WCAG 2.1 recommends a contrast ratio of 4.5:1 for normal text and 3:1 for larger text.
Responsive Design: A responsive design ensures that the website can be accessed on different devices and screen sizes. It is critical for users who may be accessing the website on mobile devices or using assistive technology. Website design can be responsive by using media queries to adjust the layout and styling of the website based on the device size.
Consistent Layout: A consistent layout helps users navigate the website easily. Website developers should ensure that the layout is consistent throughout the website, including the placement of navigation menus and the use of headings and subheadings. Consistency helps users understand the structure of the website and find the information they need quickly.
Use of ARIA: Accessible Rich Internet Applications (ARIA) is a set of attributes that can be added to HTML tags to make web content more accessible. ARIA attributes can be used to provide additional information about the content or functionality of the website, particularly for users using assistive technology. For example, the attribute can be used to describe the function of an element, such as a menu or a button.
Test with Assistive Technology: Testing the website with assistive technology is crucial in ensuring its accessibility. Web developers should test the website with screen readers, keyboard-only navigation, and other assistive technology to ensure that it can be used by users with disabilities.
Audio and Video Captions: Providing captions for audio and video content is critical for users with hearing impairments. Captions should be synchronised with the audio or video content and provide an accurate representation of the spoken words.
Provide Text Alternatives for Non-Text Content: Non-text content, such as images, charts, and graphs, should have a text alternative provided. The text alternative should provide a description of the content and convey the same information as the non-text content.
Website accessibility is an essential aspect of web development and website design that should not be overlooked. To ensure that your website is accessible to all users, consider using keywords such as “semantic HTML,” “alt text,” “ARIA attributes,” “screen reader,” and “keyboard navigation” in your website design and development efforts. Additionally, it is important to prioritise user testing and regularly audit your website’s accessibility to identify and address any issues.
By making accessibility a priority, you can create a website that is inclusive, user-friendly, and compliant with industry standards and regulations.