Accessibility Matters: Is your website accessible?
My name is Kaitlyn Martinez and I am a developer at Click Rain. Last year, I presented at a Craft Conference in Berlin, Germany and I’m really excited to share some of my presentation on accessibility with you today.
Website Accessibility provides equal access to content for everyone. By making your site accessible, you’re removing barriers and enabling everyone the same access to your content.
Something many people don’t realize—your company can actually be sued for having inaccessible content. Just recently, a man filed a lawsuit against a company for not being able to access their site through a screen reader. He won the case. This case sets the precedence in the digital arena that accessibility shouldn’t be taken lightly. Specific industries being targeted are banking, retail, and education.
To break website accessibility down simply, think about your company’s physical presence. Your building is made accessible with elevators, handicap parking, and accessible sidewalks and doors.
Making your site accessible isn’t just for those with permanent disabilities, like blindness. It can also be for someone who, let’s say, has a broken hand and can only use a keyboard to navigate, or someone who’s had their eyes temporarily dilated and can’t see as well.
So how do you make a website accessible? Follow the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.
These guidelines are broken down into three levels. A, double-A, and triple-A. A is the lowest level, double-A includes all of the A guidelines plus a few, and triple-A is the highest level of accessibility. The level you choose depends on the audience you expect to be visiting your site. Double-A is a good level to shoot for in general.
Development, content, and design all play a part in website accessibility.
Unique page titles, link purpose, and alt tags are all vital to accessible content. Page titles need to be unique because they are the first thing a screen reader says. And if the title doesn’t match the page content, it can cause confusion to your site visitor. Next, link purpose is making sure your link names have context. Saying “click here” is very ambiguous and doesn’t describe the content on that specific page.Finally, alt tags are adding text to images. The alt tag describes what is happening in the image. If an alt description is left blank the screen reader, it will instead read the name of the image which could be h-t-t-p-:-/-/c-l-i… That information doesn’t help provide context and can be very annoying to the user.
Use of Color and Contrast Minimum are examples of design accessibility items. Use of color involves the content surrounding a link and the color contrast between the two. The Contrast Minimum involves the contrast between the background and text color.
Error identification and bypass links are examples of dev accessibility items. We’ve all been there. You fill out a form and press submit. However, you forget to fill out a required field. A message then pops up saying there was an error. That’s error identification.Finally, bypass links are the first items on a page -usually hidden unless it has focus- which allows keyboard and screen reader users to skip directly to the content instead of tabbing past the header every time they go to a different page.
These are just a few of many guidelines that need to be followed in order to make your site accessible.
We do everything we can to make sites accessible during their initial development (depending on requirements), but you don’t need a whole new site to start making improvements. Talk to us about your website’s accessibility and how we can start making your site more accessible.
Thanks for watching, and we’ll see you next time!