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Ways to Make Your Website More Accessible

Under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), your website must be accessible unless the content was posted prior to 2012. As website design flourishes by using more intricate layouts and colour, organizations and designers may have lost sight of accessibility. Ensuring that your website is universally accessible is crucial for the benefit of all users. Adjusting a website as a non-developer can be intimidating, but it isn’t as difficult as you think. Below are five simple ways to make your website more accessible.

5 Simple Ways You Can Make Your Website More Accessible

Ways to make your website more accessible: Contemplate your colours

Colour is key to any type of design. Colour can be eye-catching, it can display emotion, and it can be enticing for potential clientele, but can your users differentiate between the colours on your website? Are they visible for people who have a colour deficiency?

Though using colour is helpful when creating designs, you must consider how different colours, hues, and shades work together. Foreground and background need to contrast correctly in order to display a clear image. For example, you cannot use a light grey text or foreground on a white background. This colour combination would have poor readability for users who experience colour deficiencies.

Ways to make your website more accessible: Alternative (Alt) text for images

A picture is worth 1000 words, but what if your picture is not visible to someone? How will they know what this image displays?

Alt text makes your websites more accessible by providing a description of an image. Your alt text should be a short explanation of the image content. The description of the image should reflect the information on the page. The same image can be used for multiple purposes, but it should always have different alt text that reflects the content displayed on the page.

When creating alt text, try thinking about how you would explain an image to a person who cannot see it. What elements of the image do you most want users to know about?

Ways to make your website more accessible: Link descriptions

Have you considered the context of your link? Is your link descriptive enough to direct users to the appropriate page? What if a link on your page says “click here” or “learn more”? How would someone know what they are actually clicking?

Some individuals read the information of a link in order to decide if they will view the link. Some users do so with a screen reader.

Think about where links lead users. You could say “Click here to view our services” instead of “click here.”  Give a little more detail that describes where users are being directed.

Ways to make your website more accessible: Headings

Use of headings seems like a minor detail, but headings can help organize your content. Headings range from H1 and can go up to as high as H6. H1 headings are used as main titles, H2 would be used as a subheading of H1, and so on.

Not only does organizing headings assist in the overall aesthetic of a page, it also helps users who work with a screen reader.  The screen reader will rank the headings according to the top-down hierarchy. This way of reading assists by informing the user about the level of context on a page.

Ways to make your website more accessible: Provide captioning and transcripts

If you have videos on your website that do not have captions, a hearing-impaired user will not be able to comprehend the videos on your website.

Hosting websites provide tools to add captions to videos on their sites, but if you are unable to do this, adding a transcript of the video and making it available online can allow all users to view your content.

 

Above all, do your research. Try to learn how individuals with disabilities use the web. Expanding your knowledge will help you adjust your website to make it universally accessible. There are many Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG­­) 2.0 checklists available online that may assist in making your website more welcoming to everyone.