Improving your organization’s approach to web accessibility is essential in order to provide an inclusive environment for anyone who visits your site, including people with disabilities. In earlier posts, we discussed the definition and importance of web accessibility as well as the key principles that guide making the web more accessible.
There are a number of tools available to help, so you don’t have to figure it out all on your own. First, you should evaluate your site for areas that can be improved according to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 and think about which accessibility level (A, AA, AAA) you want to achieve. The WCAG website is comprehensive but can be a bit overwhelming because of the amount of information there. But you can use the WAVE (Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool) website to test your site’s pages.
Ensuring proper color contrast is another WCAG criteria your site should follow, and there’s another online tool that can help with that: the Color Contrast Checker. You can test the contrast between your foreground and background colors as well as text sizes against the accessibility guidelines. The WCAG website also includes a list of other evaluation tools that can help in determining if your content meets the accessibility guidelines.
But what can your organization do right now to improve the accessibility of your site?
- Alternative Text for All Images
Add text descriptions to all images. A basic description of the object(s) or action in the photo passes the WCAG Level A guidelines, while providing a more thorough description of the object(s) and the connection to the page’s content will get you to Level AA compliance.
- Color Contrast Check
As mentioned above, your web pages should have sufficient contrast between the foreground and background colors. So just use the Color Contrast Checker to evaluate your pages. This is also important for any rebranding you may be planning—and the perfect opportunity to improve your web accessibility at the same time.
- Keyboard Input
Make sure every element is accessible using only the keyboard, particularly where forms are concerned. Can you tab logically through the form or page? You want for people of all abilities to be able to fill out forms easily otherwise they might get frustrated and leave.
- Make Link Text Descriptive
Stop using the phrase “Click here” to link to another page or document. Ideally, the link text should describe exactly what people will find at the link’s destination. For example, learn more about accessibility.
- Transcripts for Audio and Video Content
Be sure to always include transcripts and captions for audio and video content. For example, if your site includes an event video, activate closed captioning, or for a recorded interview with a client, add a link to the transcript or include it below the video.
If you take it in small steps, making your website more accessible to people of all abilities is definitely doable. So make a resolution for 2017 to make web accessibility a priority. You never know where your next supporter could come from, so why not make it as easy as possible for everyone to connect with you.