As per the reports published by the World Health Organization, an estimated 1.3 billion people experience significant disabilities. This represents 16% of the world’s population or 1 in 6 of us!
In today’s hectic world, the internet is an integral part of our daily lives, and everyone has the right to access the digital world to stay up to date. However, it is unfortunate that many websites still cannot provide an accessible user experience for people with disabilities. This is where web accessibility comes into the picture.
It is a crucial part of web development where the website is designed and developed to ensure that everyone out there can have equal access to its content and derive a uniform experience from it. This makes practicing web accessibility absolutely non-negotiable.
Aren’t much familiar with the concept? We’ve got you. In this blog, we strive to give you a comprehensive overview of everything you need to know about web accessibility, its tremendous benefits, standard guidelines, and a few best practices.
Why Is Web Accessibility Important?
As mentioned above, the web world is an important source of information. Not only is it used for information, but people all across the world leverage the internet for communication, entertainment, education, and employment purposes as well. Thus maintaining and following web accessibility guidelines is important.
The onus thus lies on organizations to foster an inclusive environment for users of all kinds. Listed below are some common disabilities they must accommodate before commencing development work on their website:
- Cognitive disorders like ADHD, Autism, and Dyslexia
- Visual disorders like blindness, color blindness, and low vision
- Speech disorders like apraxia and stutter
- Auditory disorders like tinnitus, hard of hearing, and complete deafness
- Motor disorders like paralysis, tremors, and dexterity
- Age-related disorders like memory loss, decreased vision, less mobility, etc.
As responsible businesses, it is crucial to ensure that people with disabilities can –
- Leverage and obtain services and information online like news, banking, and shopping facilities.
- Be a part of online communities like important forums and social media.
- Utilize their talents and earn a living through freelancing and entrepreneurship opportunities.
- Upskill themselves through online courses and tutorials.
Now that you know the basics of web accessibility and why it matters, read on to find out how you can benefit from it.
Top benefits of implementing Web Accessibility
Maximize your reach
By creating websites that can be accessed by calling, you can increase your reach to a larger audience.
Improved User experience
Web accessibility will improve the overall user experience of everyone that comes across your page. By making your website accessible, you make it much easier for your visitors to use, understand and navigate your page.
More SEO benefits
Various web accessibility techniques can be used to enhance the SEO of a website. For instance – including alt text in your website images can give a boost to your search engine ranking.
Enhance the reputation of your brand.
By making your website accessible, you can improve your brand’s reputation and showcase that you care about practicing inclusivity.
Multiple countries, including Europe and USA, have rules that require websites to be accessible to all people. By practicing web accessibility, thus, you can steer clear of undesirable legal consequences.
Website Accessibility Standard Guidelines – An introduction
1. Section 508 –
A set of guidelines issued by the government of the United States comprise the accessibility requirements for agencies and organizations that obtain federal funding. The section covers a wide range of disabilities, including visual, hearing, and motor disorders.
2. Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) –
The most popularly used set of guidelines when it comes to web accessibility is the WCAG. It gives a set of recommendations for making the website content more accessible to individuals with disabilities. The guidelines have been segregated into three levels – A, AA, and AAA.
3. Accessible Rich Internet Applications (ARIA) –
4. ISO/IEC 40500 –
Based on WCAG 2.0, this is an international standard for web accessibility. It offers a set of guidelines for creating and making web content more accessible for individuals with disabilities.
By abiding by the aforementioned guidelines, you can ensure that your website is accessible and in compliance with legal requirements. However, you need to note that these guidelines may require extra customization as per your website needs.
Best Practices to follow while implementing Web accessibility
1. Include text alternatives
Include text alternatives for non-text content like audio, videos, and images. This assists users with screen readers or assistive technology to easily comprehend the content.
2. Provide keyboard accessibility
Make sure that all your functionality is available by only using a keyboard. This will be a great boon for users who are unable to use a mouse or any other pointing devices.
3. Use Semantic HTML
You need to leverage HTML tags to improve the structure of your content. For instance, use the header tag for the main heading of the page and the nav tag for navigation links. This makes it easier for screen readers to parse your content, too.
4. Leverage high contrast color scheme on the website
Using high-contrast colors for texts and backgrounds makes it comparatively easier to read.
5. Make sure that your website is compatible with different devices
Ensure that your website is compatible with different screen devices like smartphones, tablets, desktops, and different computer screens.
6. Use assistive technology to test your website.
Before making your website live, ensure that you test it once using assistive technology such as keyboard-only navigation, screen readers, magnifiers, and the like.
7. Incorporate descriptive link text.
Add descriptive link text that gives context about the content of the link. Try avoiding generic text like ‘Click here.’
8. Highlight clear instructions
For ensuring web accessibility, it is mandatory to ensure that you provide clear instructions for your website visitors and convey to them clearly that your website is accessible to all.
9. Utilize ARIA attributes
Accessible Rich Internet Applications (ARIA) attributes provide additional context to certain HTML elements, thereby improving the overall accessibility of your content.
10. Evaluate and improve
Lastly, as the saying goes, ‘There is always scope for improvement.’ You need to evaluate and improve your website accessibility continuously. You can do this by leveraging constructive feedback, user testing, and keeping up with the above-mentioned best practices!
Calling It A Wrap!
‘Let us come together to create an inclusive digital space without barriers!’
Web accessibility is not a one-time task but a continuous process that requires constant efforts to ensure that the website remains inclusive and accessible to all users. By abiding by the guidelines and the information mentioned in the blog, you can create websites that are accessible and can be enjoyed by all! If you are looking for a stunning website get in touch with our ReactJS experts.