How to Make Your Website Disability Friendly
How to Make Your Website Disability Friendly
Millions of internet users have some sort of disability. Making websites more accessible for traffic with special needs isn’t a difficult task, but it starts with understanding the challenge. There are many impairments to consider. Things like visual and hearing impairments require multiple approaches. Another all-too-common disability is photosensitive epilepsy. Websites and plugins take pride in ultra-dynamic animations and video clips, but the high-intensity sites can cause seizures for some users. Website accessibility is all about inclusion.
The list of impairments and disabilities is long. Finding ways to make your website accessible to everyone is a never-ending process. As the web evolves and you learn about more unique needs, you’ll realize your website needs to change as well continually. Fortunately, you can find guidance from several sources.
What Is Website Accessibility?
Website accessibility is the idea of making your website available for all traffic. Internet visitors are a broad mix of people, some with various disabilities. Standard websites may not account for those. However, taking the time and effort to make your website accessible for all users is beneficial for everyone.
Accessibility means finding tools and resources to continue to improve your site. Keep in mind that some disabilities and challenges are temporary. Broken arms and temporary blindness (lost glasses or medical work) can make using the computer much more difficult. Some problems develop over time. Think of gradually aging into poor eyesight or hearing. Website accessibility is an understanding of how to reach everyone everywhere.
Why Is Accessibility Important?
Designing your website to be more accessible is essential simply to be inclusive. The internet is for everyone. Shouldn’t your website be available too? Not only is being inclusive imperative from the human level, excluding traffic can take a significant toll on your site. Thousands of people can skip over your website due to a lack of something pretty simple, like adding alt-text to images.
Traffic is important. Your website dies without visitors. However, the growing threat is litigation. The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 helps to make sure accommodations are available for people with disabilities. Websites are now being referred to as places of public accommodation, given the increasing use of sites for everything.
Title III of the Act states: “Public accommodations must comply with basic nondiscrimination requirements that prohibit exclusion, segregation, and unequal treatment. They also must comply with specific requirements related to architectural standards for new and altered buildings; reasonable modifications to policies, practices, and procedures; effective communication with people with hearing, vision, or speech disabilities; and other access requirements. Additionally, public accommodations must remove barriers in existing buildings where it is easy to do so without much difficulty or expense, given the public accommodation’s resources.”
The rapidly growing number of lawsuits regarding website accessibility is a direct tribute to internet services’ necessity. Your website is no exception. Some countries already have laws in place to govern accessibility, so be sure to take the required steps.
While the threat of landing in court is intimidating, making your site more accessible has other positive outcomes. By changing specific ways to navigate and updating designs, you can create a more enjoyable experience for all visitors. Customer interface and accessibility go hand in hand, so focusing on accessibility helps all aspects of your website.
How can you make your website more accessible?
At the beginning of this article, we mentioned that making your site more accessible is not a difficult task. As the ADA states, your responsibility is to make changes that are without much difficulty and reasonable expense. There’s no need to redesign your entire site. Here are just a few ways to make your website more accessible.
-Keyboard Friendly: What do we mean by that? Make sure your visitors can navigate your website without a mouse. Many assistive technologies can’t use a mouse, and so, by not making your site keyboard friendly, you immediately exclude anyone needing to use an adapted keyboard. Check out WebAIM for an excellent guide to creating a more keyboard friendly site.
-Color Scheme: Colorblindness is an all-to-often overlooked disability that substantially impacts whether or not someone can see your content. Be careful about choosing your color scheme. Ideally, you want a heavy contrast between text and background, preferably a dark background. Also, try to avoid similar colors in your design. Most colorblind people don’t only see black and white. They see colors on different spectrums. This effect makes carefully designing your color scheme even more essential.
-Don’t use automatic media: Pages that immediately launch into some kind of video can be annoying for everyone. Imagine not being able to turn it off. Visitors using a screen reader will have exceptional difficulty trying to turn off a video. Others may get confused about where the noise is coming from and immediately leave. Either way, add media wisely.
These examples are some of the bare minimum things you can do to make your site more accessible. Other steps like limiting table use and enabling resizable text aren’t challenging either. Take the time to learn ways you can incorporate some of these features into your website. The payoff will be worth the work.
The Internet Is For Everyone
Always remember the internet is for everyone, regardless of if you suffer from a disability or not. Our job as website owners is to be as inclusive as possible. We need to understand these difficulties affect millions of people. Taking even the most basic steps to be more accessible is the least we can do. Along with the business sense of reaching out to as many people as possible, neglecting accessibility requirements can be a threat to your business. In summary, do some research and learn more about how disabilities can affect how internet traffic browses.
If you’re not sure about how your website stacks up, WPClover offers a free website health check, including a WCAG 2.1 report to check accessibility. We’d love to talk with you a little more about your site and what potential steps you can take to improve.
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