Website design acts as one of the most crucial aspects of every business that helps in attracting and connecting with a wide range of target audiences. But to make your business reach the maximum audience you need to make your website accessible to anyone and everyone.
There are hundreds and thousands of reputed websites out there that are losing their top customers to competitor businesses just because the audience is failing to access the website and interact with the design. Making your potential customers trust your brand and business can be easy if you know how to make your website design more accessible?
Keeping that in mind our website design professionals have contributed their ideas on how business and other site owners can make their website more accessible to engage and acquire more customers by outperforming the competition.
Table OF Content:
- An Overview Of Website Accessibility
- What Is Website Accessibility?
- Why Your Website Need To Be Accessible To Everyone?
- 10 Ways To Make Your Website More Accessible In 2021
An Overview Of Website Design Accessibility
In today’s internet-driven world where most of the users are trying to find the solution, information, and other stuff through the internet, it has become essential for site owners to offer optimized website design and experience to users. But when it comes to designing a website, web accessibility is one of the most overlooked aspects that every site owner should focus on.
There are millions of users out there living with some kind of disabilities. Not only that but some of the new users are totally unaware of how to navigate the website to find the information, that is the reason why it’s important for the website to keep accessibility as their first priority. If you don’t spend time understanding how you can make your website accessible then you might end up losing a lot of potential customers to your competitor’s website.
There is some misconception that web accessibility is a difficult process but in reality, with the proper knowledge on how to make a website accessible, any business can easily make their website design accessible to every user. The accessibility of your website also defines the success and failure of your business.
Today there are a number of ways through which users can access the website, creating a highly accessible and universal design can help you in separating your website from the crowd and sometimes your website can also gain a new customer through recommendations. Making a website accessible is not really hard but it can help you in gaining more credibility, authentication, and most importantly customers.
Now you might think there are various programs and tools like screen readers that can help the visually impaired person to access the entire website but there are not only the part solutions. To make your website accessible you need to design your website and app in a way that makes it easy for people with disabilities to access the site with the help of assistive design or throughout your design.
In the coming paragraphs, we will be highlighting some important points on why it’s important for business and site owners to make the website design accessible and what majors you can take to make your website more accessible.
Before we highlight some steps on how site owners can make their website design, let’s understand the basics: “What is Web Accessibility”?
What Is Website Accessibility?
Website accessibility is all about creating a website design that is easily accessible to anyone and everyone. The main aim behind making a website accessible is that people with disabilities are able to access your website design. They should be able to understand, navigate, perceive and interact with the web as other people do.
Today 26 percent of adults in the United States are suffering from some kind of disability. Among them, 4.6 percent are suffering from vision-related problems, and 5.9 percent of adults have hearing issues. Not only that but two in five adults (age 65 and older) are suffering from some type of disability. That is the reason why it has become important for every website to make its design accessible more than ever.
While creating your website design, keeping accessibility as the priority can ensure that your website is open to welcome the maximum number of audience. There are technologies like braille terminals, screen readers, and more that make it possible for people with disabilities to access the internet and browse the information they want.
By making your design accessible you are taking it one step further by helping visually impairment, hearing impairment, photosensitive seizure, and people with cognitive disabilities. By adopting quick design changes you can make your website more accessible. Now that you have a clear idea about what is website accessibility? Next, we would like to highlight some points on why it’s important for site owners to make their website accessible.
Why Your Website Need To Be Accessible To Everyone?
As we have mentioned earlier by making your website accessible you will be able to welcome the maximum number of audience on your website. In reality, there are lots of benefits of making your website accessible as it can help you to drive more traffic and acquire more customers which can result in an increase in revenue. But if you see it from a human perspective then by making your website accessible you are ensuring that your website door is not shut for people with disabilities.
Making your website accessible also helps in expanding your potential audience. Well here the math is very simple by making your website accessible, more users will be able to access the content and other elements in your website which will automatically increase your user base. By doing this you are not only increasing your user base but also moving one step ahead of your competition.
If you are aware of the ADA complaints then you must know that some of the countries have already made it compulsory for websites to make their design and other elements accessible to all users. So by making your website accessible you are protecting your websites from fines and lawsuits where most of the websites end up losing so much money.
Apart from that by making your website accessible your business and brand are committing to serve every internet user. There are a few more reasons why businesses should make their website accessible. Let’s take a look at some of them
1. Make everyone in the audience included
As mentioned earlier by making your website accessible you are welcoming every user including people with disabilities. Because one in five people in the US suffers from some type of disability. And there are high chances that some of them might be looking for the product and services you are offering. If they pay a visit to your website to know more about your business, product, and service then it’s essential for you to offer them a website that is easily accessible.
If you are failing to do that then they will never hesitate to shift to your competitor’s website. If you wish to acquire more customers for your website then you need to keep accessibility as your first priority. Make sure the people visiting your website are able to understand the features and importance of using your product and services. Apart from that by making your website accessible to everyone you can make people realize what makes your business better than others.
2. Helps in improving search engine ranking
When you make your website accessible to everyone then you are not only getting more audience but also improving your search engine ranking. When you start making your website accessible then things like video transcript, alternative image text, and more will help people with disabilities to access the website. Apart from that these practices help search engine bots to understand your web page purpose.
Because by doing that you are offering more information about your web pages which help you in getting a better ranking in the search engine. Whenever a search engine bot indexes your website then they go through every small piece of information to understand the web page purpose, by making your website accessible you are performing all the necessary steps that can help search engines in getting a better understanding of your website.
Apart from that by making your website more accessible, your site will start driving more visitors and if google recognizes that your site is driving good traffic and meets all the search engine requirements then they will never hesitate to recommend your website for particular keywords to searchers.
3. Helps in improving your reputation
When you create a website design that can be accessed by anyone including people with disabilities then it creates a positive impact in society and people with disabilities start talking about your website. How it helps them to gain information and make a successful purchase. It also offers a feeling that you care about them.
Because there are many websites out there that haven’t made their design accessible and the user might have had a bad experience and after visiting your website and easily accessing the layout they must be convinced that your business cares for everyone. This way you are building credibility and conveying a strong message in the society.
Remember the impact you create in society helps in deciding whether you are the right fit for them or not. By creating positive experiences you are helping your business to fall in the positive light. And by making your site accessible you are ensuring that every customer with or without disabilities feels happy and the same information they pass to their closed ones.
4. Helps in improving site usability
One of the important aspects of website design and SEO is the user experience. Every website wishes to offer the best experience to the user because it creates a positive impact on your website as well as your business. If you are failing to offer a positive experience to the user then it will lead to increases in the bounce rate and your website will start to see a fall in the conversion rate metrics.
By making your website accessible to anyone and everyone you are able to offer the best experience for all the users visiting your website. Your site visitor will be able to access all the valuable information that you are offering with a goal to convert them into paying customers.
To be frank very few or we can say no one makes their website inaccessible to people with disabilities intentionally. However, very few websites put the effort into making their website accessible to all the audience. Gone are those days when website accessibility used to be a feature offered by the websites. Now it has become essential for every public and private website to make its web page accessible to all the users including people with disabilities. So let’s move ahead and understand how site owners and businesses can make their websites accessible.
If you are someone looking to know more about ADA compliances then make sure to check our blog on 2020 Complete Guide On ADA compliance: What Is ADA Compliance?
10 Ways To Make Your Website More Accessible In 2021
1. Select the right CMS that supports accessibility
The first thing that we recommend is selecting the right content management system for your website. Today almost every website on the internet makes use of CMS (content management system) to edit, manage and publish content. That is the reason why it’s essential for websites and businesses to select a content management system that supports accessibility. WordPress and Drupal are among the popular CMS which is also used to build websites.
There are more CMS that can be used to create a website so once you are done selecting the right CMS that fits your requirement next you will look to select a template/theme for your website. That is when you need to pay close attention to selecting a theme that is easily accessible to users.
Before you select any theme is recommended to go through their documentation and check their reputation to know the theme performance. You can even visit a forum or community and ask people about the performance of the theme in terms of usability and accessibility.
If you are looking to know more about wordpress themes then make sure to check our blog on 10 Best WordPress Themes To Use In 2021
Yes, there are some steps that you can take to make your theme accessible (which we will be highlighting in the below paragraphs) but still selecting a theme that is easily accessible can add more advantage. In the same way, when installing the plugin and modules we recommend keeping accessibility as your first priority.
If you’re integrating editing tools, bars, and video players then make sure the platform allows you to produce content that is easily accessible to anyone and everyone. For example, the editing toolbar you select should offer options like heading and accessible tables in the same way the video play you integrate should come with a closed caption feature. Remember the CMS you select will play a major role in making your website accessible.
2. Make your web page keyboard friendly
When it comes to finding the answer for how to make the website more accessible? Then websites and businesses should consider making their web pages keyboard-friendly. The website designs your offer along with the element and other navigation menus should be accessible through the keyboard. Because there are many people with disabilities who can’t use conventional point-to-interact devices like a mouse. That’s when the keyboard comes into pictures as it can help the user to access all the elements inside the web page.
You should be able to offer a web page that makes it possible for the user with disabilities to use all the majors on your site with the help of a keyboard. These elements and major generally include links, content, pages, and more. Most of the users with disabilities who can’t use conventional points to interact decisively make use of the “tab key” in the keyboard to access the element on your web page.
Once the user hits the tab button then the cursor will jump on the area in your web page that can have keyboard focus. So to make your web page accessible your goal should be to ensure that all the content and navigation inside your webpage can be accessed with the tab button in your keyword.
Well testing your website for keyboard friendliness is not difficult just you have to use the tab button to access the element without touching the mouse. If you find that you are not able to access any of the elements or navigation on your web page then you can easily determine that you have got some work to do.
If you are opting for an experienced website design company to create an attractive and conversion-centric website for your business then you don’t have to worry about accessibility because a reputed website design company always ensures that each one of your potential customers is able to access your website design regardless of any disabilities.
3. Include alt text for images
Alt-text is something that every website should use not only to make your website accessible but also to help search engines to analyze the purpose of the image. If you are using wordpress then you must have noticed the ALT text option while uploading the image. If you are using a custom code website then you can enter the alt text with the help of codes. But defining alt text for the image is important because it helps the user to understand the message behind the use of the or the image purpose.
Mainly it helps people with disabilities to decode the purpose of the image. When you create the alt text you need to ensure that it contains the message that you want to convey to potential customers. This way you will be helping search engines as well as people with disabilities to figure out why you placed the image on your web page.
But if you are using the image just for decoration purposes and don’t have much to do with the web page and the content then you can leave the alt text empty so that the user doesn’t get confused or distracted with the content on your web page. Adding alt text for the image can benefit you in many ways.
4. Always place the important elements on the top
One of the best ways to make your website more accessible is by place the important information and elements like hyperlinks and more on the top. You can start by finding the links and other elements that highlight the purpose of the page and other important features including the important hyperlink. Next, you can check on how many times you have to hit the tab key on your keyword to access the essential elements.
Many times people with disabilities can’t use a conventional point to interact with devices like a mouse and that’s when they make use of keywords to interact with the web page. That is the reason why in the above paragraphs we have mentioned you need to make your web page keyboard friendly. So to access the web page people with disabilities make use of the keyboard and that is when the use of the tab button comes in.
If you are making users hit the tab button multiple times then they may shift to your competitor’s website that is offering more accessible web pages. Earlier, the user used to adjust but now with multiple options available they will not hesitate to shift to your competitor’s website. If the user is able to access the main element faster (by pressing the tab button 3 or 4 times) then the chances of conversion increase.
But for that you need to have the answer for the following: Did you get to access the main element faster? Or you have to press the tab button multiple times (like 8 or 9) to access the element? Apart from that, you can also look into which interface of the hyperlink you are able to access after pressing the tab button.
Finding the answer to these questions might look silly to you but if you see it from the user’s perspective then it is considered as the most important aspect that can help you to make your website more accessible. By placing the important element in the beginning you will be able to make your web page more accessible.
5. Spend time selecting the right set of color
The next thing that we recommend is selecting the right set of colors for your audience. You must have heard of the term color blindness, many people around suffer from problems like color blindness and by selecting the right set of colors you will make your website accessible to them. Red-green color deficiency is one of the most common types of color deficiency and it affects nearly 8 percent of the population.
If your web page is using colors like green and red especially to highlight important things like the CTA’s, links, content, and another element then you are automatically making it difficult for them to access the web page. Due to the fact that the user suffering from these types of color deficiency may look for other options.
That is the reason why you need to ensure that the color you select for your website contrasts well so that users are able to differentiate between elements on your web page. One of the most common problems faced by users is that they fail to distinguish between the text color and background mainly in the hero of your web page.
Make sure the text color you are using separates it from the background color. You can use the light color against the dark color that is the reason why most of the websites use black text color and white background. You can also make use of a visual indicator like an asterisk or question mark to make the design more accessible.
Apart from that, there are some popular tools that you can use to evaluate the color contrast. Making use of these tools will help you to make your pages visually accessible to users suffering from problems like low vision or color blindness.
If you are getting your website designed by an experienced website design company then you don’t have to worry about color because they keep accessibility as their first priority and create a website design accessible to every user visiting your website.
6. Define the meaning of the title attribute
The title attribute acts as the short summary thet defines where the user will land after taking action on the particular hyperlink. Once users are aware of whether they will land then they will never hesitate to click on the link. Remember users who are accessing your website always need more information before they take action on your website. It will make no sense if the title attribute is the same as the text in the link. For example, if you are clearing the hyperlink link on the term called portfolio then keeping the title attribute the same as the “Portfolio” will not add any value.
If you have the opportunity then utilize it for the best that means if the user reads the title attribute the same as the text on the link then it will not add any value. Instead, you can be more descriptive in the title attribute to tell users more about where they will land after clicking on the link. Taking these types of actions not only makes your web page accessible but also encourages the site visitor to take action on it.
7. Using the heading correctly
If you are already running the website then you must be aware that the heading tag allows users to navigate the content more effectively. Depending on the header screen reader can directly jump onto the section they are interested in. Every user does that including me. Heading outlines the purpose of the content and other paragraphs in it. By using the header tags correctly, H1 then next H2 after that H3 indicated the difference between the main section and subsection of it.
Some of the users neglect reading the header inside the content and most of them start engaging with the content only after reading the heading. That is the reason why it’s essential for every website to make use of the grading to make three content accessible. This particular web accessibility factor may sound simple to you but it can do more wonders in getting people’s attention and encouraging them to perform the desired action.
Breaking up long content into subsections helps you to cover the importance of each section and also makes it easier for the user to consume the content. Make sure you stick to the correct order of the heading and separate the header in the right structure. Instead of picking a header just because it offers an appealing look separate it depending on the right structure
- For the title of the page, you can make use of the H1 header. And it’s always recommended not to use the H1 tag in the middle of the content.
- Next, you can select the H2 header to define the sub-page of the title
- If your H2 contains important subheadings then you can start marketing it with H3 then H4 and so on.
Remember using the header tag correctly not only helps you to make your website accessible but also helps in getting a better search engine ranking. The header tag helps search engine bots to understand the purpose of the web page that is the reason why SEO experts recommend including keywords in the header of your content.
8. Make Sure The Form Is Easily Accessible
In addition to spending time selecting the right set of colors for your website, you also need to ensure that the contact form is easily accessible. While most of the websites make their contact easily accessible to their audience. If the form fields in your website are not labeled properly then it can confuse the site visitor and they will never show interest in filling the signup form of your website. Without a proper label site, visitors may fail to identify the information they need to fill in the box.
To make your form accessible you need to ensure that each field is positioned properly with proper and descriptive labels. For example, if you wish to collect the full name of your site visitor then instead of just labeling it with “Name” make use of “full name” as the label. So that site visitors are able to identify what they need to fill in the empty box. You can also separate it into two or three columns like “First Name” “Middle Name” “Last Name”.
Apart from that, you can also check whether the user is able to switch the option using the tab button or not. This way you will be making it possible for all the users to fill the form. The user should be able to tab through different options before clicking on the submit button. Or else they will not realize that some of the options are still left to be filled. For example, your form might have a business occupation as optional columns and the user might show interest in filling it but if they are not able to tab through then they will hit the submit button without filling the form.
If your form contains an option that is similar or is very much related then you can plan to group them together. For example options like name and DOB can be grouped into personal information in the same way job occupation and salary can be grouped into professional information. This way you will be making your form look more professional and accessible.
9. Make use of tables only for tabular data
If you are looking to make your website design more accessible then we recommend using the tables only from the tabular data, not for other purposes. Adding tables in the page layout adds extra verbosity to the page and makes it difficult for screen readers to access the content. Every visually challenged user makes use of a screen reader to access the content so if the screen reader comes across tables then it starts telling the user that there are x number of rows and columns present. These types of activities can distract users from the content. Which can disrupt their final decision.
Apart from that, there are high chances that the content will be read in an unorganized order which will make it difficult for the user to consume the content. Instead of using tables, you can make use of CSS presentations. But sometimes it becomes essential for web pages to use tables to showcase the data. During that time you can make use of headers for rows and columns that helps screen readers explain the relationship of cells. Adding a complex cell to your website can complicate the web page and make it difficult for users to consume the content. That is the reason why it’s recommended to use tables only when it’s required.
10. Make use of skip navigation
If you are familiar with the user behaviors then you must know that today users don’t read every small text on your website, instead, they skim the paragraph. But when it comes to the user using a screen reader then you must know that the screen reader has to read the web page from top to bottom. And the screen readers are not smart enough to scan the page depending on the users’ needs.
Using skip navigation helps screen readers and users who can not use conventional point-to-interact devices like a mouse in scanning the web page. Now you must be looking to know what is skip navigation? So skip navigation in nothing but a link that can be placed at the top of the web page, when a screen reader or user comes across the link then it positions them to the content section.
If you don’t want to show this particular link to the able bodies then you can hide it from them by moving the like outside the browser viewport using CSS. While there are a lot of advantages of using skip navigation, there is a downside to using the technique. As mentioned earlier the skip navigation works well with screen readers but users having problems in accessing the mouse may face problems as they will not be able to use tab navigation to access the skip navigation.
Skip navigation is easy to imbed in any kind of website and act as one of the best techniques that can help you to make your web page content more accessible.
By now you might be familiar with some of the important tips on how you can make your website accessible? Today it has become essential for every website to welcome as many visitors as they can. To achieve that you need to make your web pages accessible to everyone including people with some kind of disabilities. By making your website accessible to everyone you will also likely see the advantage in the form of better ranking, traffic, and most importantly conversion.
Making website design accessible is not a difficult process, you can spend some time and make it accessible to anyone and everyone. Or you consult with an experienced award-winning website design company to help you make your design more attractive and accessible so that it drives more traffic and conversion, and also helps you in improving your online presence and revenue.