By Squee.

Web Accessibility: The Most Important Read Today

Two people looking at a computer.

We often focus on major global issues like politics and environmental change, but there’s a crucial area which granted isn’t the sexiest but that frequently goes unnoticed: web accessibility.

The internet, perhaps the most revolutionary invention of the last century, should be a universal tool accessible to all. However, it currently falls short, remaining out of reach for over a billion people with disabilities – a situation that could be avoided.

Just in the UK there are over 16 million people living with some form of disability, around 24% of the population. Despite this significant number, a shocking 90% of websites are still inaccessible to people who use assistive technology or have visual impairments.

Surely everyone deserves to use the web without prejudice and it’s high time more websites and agencies stepped up their game in this regard.

What can businesses do to improve their websites?

Thankfully, there are simple steps businesses can take to make their websites more accessible. By focusing on a few key practices, you can ensure that your website welcomes everyone, making your site not just compliant with accessibility standards but also more user-friendly for a diverse audience.

Top 5 Dos of Web Accessibility:

1 – Do use Alt Text for Images: Ensure that all images on your site have alternative text that describes the image clearly. This helps people using screen readers understand what’s being displayed.

2 – Do ensure sufficient contrast: There should be enough contrast between text and background colours to make the text easily readable for everyone, including those with visual impairments. If you know the hex codes used on your site you can check your site is WCAG 2.1 compliant. (or you can check this in Chrome Dev Tools).

3 – Do make all functionality available from a keyboard: Make sure users can navigate through your site using a keyboard alone, catering to those who cannot use a mouse.

4 – Do use headings correctly to structure your content: Properly used headings help organise the content in a logical flow, making it easier for screen readers to navigate.

5 – Do include captions or transcripts for video content: Providing captions or transcripts for videos ensures that users who are deaf or hard of hearing can access the information.

Top 5 Dont’s of Web Accessibility:

1 – Don’t use colour alone to convey information: Avoid using colour as the only method of conveying information, as this can pose problems for colourblind users.

2 – Don’t forget to label your forms effectively: Labels are crucial for screen readers; ensure every form field is clearly labeled.

3 – Don’t use tables for anything but tabular data: Using tables for layout purposes can confuse screen reader users, as the content may not be read in the intended order.

4 – Don’t ignore accessibility checks: Regularly use available tools to check your website’s accessibility and fix any issues identified. We’ll give your site a free check as part of our Website Scorecard process.

5 – Don’t overlook simple language: Keep your website’s language simple and straightforward, avoiding complex jargon that can be difficult to understand, particularly for those with cognitive disabilities.

Keep Learning and Enhancing Your Website

We encourage all business owners to continue learning about web accessibility. The W3C offers excellent articles that outline standards and best practices. Additionally, thought leaders like Jakob Nielsen provide in-depth insights that can greatly enhance your understanding and implementation of accessible design.

Guess what? There are even more benefits than you first thought.. By prioritising web accessibility, you’re not just adhering to an ethical responsibility; you’re also broadening your market reach. An accessible website can attract a wider audience, and what’s more, Google tends to reward accessible websites with better SEO rankings.

If you’re unsure whether your website is meeting these ethical and practical standards, get in touch with us at Squee. We’ll conduct a thorough review as part of our Website Scorecard process, providing you with all the answers you need to ensure your site is not only compliant but also optimally set up to reach as many people as possible.