Why Your Website Needs to Be Accessible
As more people come to rely on the Internet for everything from shopping to socializing, there is a greater emphasis than ever before on making your website accessible to as many people as possible.
This includes making your website more accessible to those who are visually or hearing impaired as well as those who access the Internet in different ways. Consider the following practices to make your website more accessible to the rapidly expanding online world by following these website accessibility standards.
Accessibility to Those with Disabilities
Not only is it an important ethical consideration; it is also important that you make your business website more accessible to those with disabilities. Current Web design trends and practices take this into account by deploying innovative methods to make websites more user-friendly to those of impaired hearing or vision. Following are some tips for making your site more accessible to people with disabilities.
- While certain interface styles might look great to some people, they might make a website harder to use for those who have poor eyesight. This means that your website should not rely on graphical content for navigation. Using clearly-defined controls will make your website easier to navigate. It is also important to pick your color schemes carefully as to avoid poorly contrasting colors that are difficult or uncomfortable to read. While typography is an essential element of Web design style, it is also important to keep content easy to read, particularly with regards to interface elements.
- Avoid unnecessarily complex page layouts and unusual interface functions and characteristics. While having a unique website and branding your company with a distinct style is important, there is no reason why this should make your website less accessible.
- The Internet is becoming increasingly multimedia-driven. Video content is becoming particularly ubiquitous on the modern Web. This provides you with a visual and auditory platform by which you can advertise a product, provide tutorials and much more. Be sure to include captions and subtitles where necessary in order to make your content as accessible as possible.
Accessibility to Those Using Older Technologies
Not everyone has access to a fast broadband connection. In fact, in some rural areas in the United States and other countries, there is no affordable broadband Internet access at all and there likely won’t be for some years to come. Make your website more accessible to those using older technologies by providing a low-bandwidth version of your website. Here are some tips to help make this possible.
- Provide a version of your website which has less graphical content. When it is necessary to provide pictures, ensure that they are adequately compressed. Use thumbnail previews so that people can get an idea of what an image is about before deciding to see the full version.
- Avoid relying exclusively on newer technologies which are unsupported by current Web browsers, devices and operating systems.
Accessibility to Mobile Internet Users
The virtual world is fast becoming a mobile one. More and more people are using mobile devices like tablet computers and smartphones for accessing the Internet. Such devices have smaller screens than laptop or desktop computers and they are usually controlled by touch. It is essential to make a website more mobile-friendly if you want to attract more customers. Try the following to make this possible.
- Use responsive Web design. Responsive Web design allows websites to scale automatically with the screen resolution of the device that they are displayed on. A responsively-designed website will look great on anything from a desktop computer with a high-definition screen to the smallest mobile devices. This way, you only need to have one website for all types of devices.
- Use larger buttons and more clearly-defined controls to make your website more accessible, not only to those with disabilities, but also to those using touchscreen devices with smaller screens. Surveys show that the vast majority of mobile users quickly start looking elsewhere if they find that their mobile device cannot render a website adequately.