How To Design A Website To Be Accessible To Everyone

When you create a website for your business, the ultimate goal is to reach as many people as possible. To help achieve this goal, it’s important to make sure that everyone who interacts with your site can easily access the information they’re looking for.

Millions of users rely on access to your site and when it is not designed effectively, both you and your users lose. Creating an accessible site is quite simple. The first step is to understand what makes websites difficult to use for certain types of people.

Once you know what makes a site difficult to access, you can make sure that your site avoids these basic issues. Below, let’s delve into web accessibility and some common ways to make your site accessible to everyone.

What is website accessibility?

Everyone should be able to take advantage of the internet. It should not matter if they have conditions that require them to use special tools. This is the main purpose of web accessibility. Designing your website with users with special needs makes it welcoming to people from all walks of life.

Regarding websites, there are some common conditions that can affect a user’s ability to access them, these conditions include vision impairment, hearing impairment, impaired fine motor skills, photosensitivity and cognitive impairment, such as memory loss.

To access the Internet, many users with these conditions use assistive technology, such as screen readers that convert text from a web page into an audio file, speech recognition software that converts speech to text, Braille terminals and even specialized keyboards. Designing your company’s website to be compatible with these technologies ensures that anyone who accesses the site can find it valuable.

Benefits of accessing your site

Making the site accessible to everyone benefits both your business and the user. First, it will expand coverage to potential consumers. Facilitating access for all users to your site will obviously increase your audience and may even give you an advantage over competitors who have not taken the same consideration. Not to mention, most of the tactics used to make your site more accessible to users with disabilities are also beneficial to users in general, as these techniques improve the overall design and usability of your site.

Finally, most countries have laws that require sites to comply with accessibility guidelines. Your business may need to meet specific requirements to avoid potential lawsuits.

Ways to make your website accessible

Ideally, everyone should be able to use any site on the internet. It should not matter if they have a condition that affects their abilities or what hardware and software they should use. This is the main principle behind the concept of web accessibility.

The fact is that millions of internet users have special needs, disabilities and deficiencies that can make it difficult or even impossible to use certain types of websites. By designing your site with these challenges in mind, you can ensure that it is welcoming to as many users as possible.

Keyboard shortcuts for navigation

One of the most important steps to make sure your site is accessible to everyone is to make your keyboard friendly. In simple terms, your site should not require a mouse to navigate through it, as many support devices rely on keyboard inputs for use.

The most common way to navigate a site via a keyboard is the Tab key. This will jump between all areas of your site, allowing access to all pages, content, backlinks, etc. Remember all the areas you can’t access and make all the necessary updates.

Easily accessible content

It is essential to make sure that all content on your site can be easily accessed, including any content that can be embedded in the moving elements on a page that does not require refresh or click to be displayed. This type of content is considered dynamic content.

Technology, such as screen readers, reads the content on the page as it is when loading, if it is not aware of the previous content change, the user will not have that content transmitted. The best way to ensure that content is not missed by user support technology is to use ARIA landmarks that are label and identify dynamic content as it changes. ARIA landmarks are also useful because they can help users find the information they are looking for faster.

Alt image tags

For users who use a screen reader, any image that does not have a description or caption that can be read aloud will be missed. You can prevent users from missing any image content on your site, but by adding an Alt tag to each image on your site. Alt tags are useful when an image cannot be displayed because it provides a description of the content image.

Screen readers can read this content so that the user can view the image on their own. Besides the accessibility of the site, other tags are also beneficial for SEO ranking. That being said, designing your website to make your business accessible can be beneficial in many ways.

Flexible text size

For some users, you may need to increase the size of the text on your site to improve readability. This may seem simple enough, but if your site is not built with this capability, when a user tries to enlarge the text, this could make navigation more difficult. You can avoid this by not defining the size of your text in pixels, but using general dimensions instead.

Accessible content

Of course, creating a site with a design that takes into account accessibility is important, but content should be the main concern when it comes to making your site easily accessible. Structuring the content of your site with titles is essential. This makes your content flow better and easier to understand when read by a screen reader.

In addition, headlines help screen readers better interpret your content, allowing for easier navigation on every page of your site. Other ways you can make sure your content is easy to access is by writing all the acronyms, the unique name of the links, the descriptive name and the inclusion of the anchor text. Although all of these steps are necessary to ensure that everyone who accesses your site can find it valuable, keep in mind that your content should be appealing to all users of your site.

Conclusion

Designing your site to be accessible to all users is not only what needs to be done, but it will help the site achieve its goal of attracting as many users as possible. With a few minor changes, your site may become compatible with web accessibility.

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