Design for All: The Importance of Website Accessibility
s the internet has evolved into an essential part of our everyday lives it has become even more crucial that it becomes accessible to everyone that uses it, including users with disabilities. Regardless of a user’s disability, website accessibility is a practice that ensures your website can be used by everyone. Accessibility is not currently a legal requirement it it is a worthwhile process for ensuring that the user experience is just as good for everyone. Throughout this article, we’ll run through the importance of website accessibility, the benefits related to making your website accessible and the overall best practices to ensure your website is available for all users.
The Importance of Website Accessibility
Ensuring your website can be used by users with disabilities is why website accessibility has become a crucial practice. Disabilities can present in a number of ways, they can be visual, auditory, physical and cognitive in the way they affect a person. People may find it difficult or sometimes even impossible to access content or services they need without a website is accessible, this can lead to social exclusion and hinder their ability to participate fully in society. By ensuring your website is accessible, you can help to break down the barriers and provide equal access to opportunities and information.
The Benefits of Website Accessibility
By factoring in accessibility when designing a website you are able to not only benefit people with disabilities but every user on your website. Accessible websites are generally easier to use and natively become more user friendly for everyone. For example, ensuring alt text is added to all images not only males them more accessible to individuals that use screen readers but also boosts their impact when searched by search engines promoting your websites SEO.
Accessible websites also have a broader reach, as they become more compatible with a larger range of devices and assistive technology. By making your website accessible, you expand your range to a much wider audience. This can include users with screen readers, voice recognition software and other assistive technology.
Best Practices for Website Accessibility
To give the best chance of your website being accessible, you should follow the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1. These guidelines offer a comprehensive set of standards for basic web accessibility and are recognised across the globe. Some of the best practices are:
- Ensure non-text content has a text alternative
- Ensuring a user can navigate with only a keyboard
- Using language that is clear to understand
- Providing sufficient colour contrast
- Ensuring the website is compatible with assistive technology.
By adhering to these best practices, you can make sure your website is accessible to everyone that uses it, regardless of their ability.
The Role of Assistive Technology
Assistive technology has become essential for helping users with disabilities access the internet. It includes software and devices that help people with disabilities navigate websites and access the information on them. Some examples of assistive technology are screen readers, magnifiers and speech recognition.
When designing and building an accessible website, it becomes essential to ensure compatibility with assistive technology. This includes designing a website that is fully compatible with screen readers, ensuring that all content can be accessed via a keyboard and using clear and concise language throughout.
Usability and User Experience
Beyond just being compliant with WCAG 2.1 standards it also encompasses usability and user experience. A website that is easy to navigate through, has clear and concise content and sees design elements that are easy to understand will always perform better.
You should look to prioritise usability and user experience when designing an accessible website.
In conclusion, website accessibility should not be overlooked and should be an essential part of web design. By making a website accessible you ensure that all users, regardless of any disability, can access all your content and services. It can also benefit all users by improving your overall user experience and reach.
To ensure your website is accessible you should look to follow the best practices outlined by WCAG 2.1, prioritise compatibility with assistive technology and prioritise usability and user experience. By taking these steps, you can move towards an accessible website that benefits all users.
If you need further assistance making your website accessible, our team of experts are here to help you. We can provide you with comprehensive website accessibility services run an audit of your current website and offer ongoing maintenance. Get in touch with us today to see how we can help you create an accessible website that benefits every user that accesses your website.