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This post gives a quick website accessibility guide to help you make sure your website or blog is inclusive. I am not an ADA website compliance consultant, nor play one on TV. However, I have been doing a lot of research for a graduate school assignment and thought I should share some of the basics with you. Ready? Read on!
Website accessibility guide
Let’s start off by defining what accessibility means. According to the Oxford dictionary, it is defined as “the quality of being able to be reached or entered,” so basically anyone can use your site. Pretty straightforward, right? Yep! At the end of the day we want everyone to have the opportunity to read our amazing content, right?
This is just a quick website accessibility guide and does not include all the ways your can make your site inclusive. Bonus, though; these elements also improve SEO! Woot, woot! People with visual accessibility issues are more than likely to use a screen reading tool, and most of these recommendations are geared towards visual accessibility.
Images should include the alternate text section filled out. The information you provide a short, detailed description of what the image captures or conveys. For example, if it is a picture of a product you sell it should be the product’s description such as “purple t-shirt, available in sizes XS-3XL” for a purple t-shirt. Easy as that, promise. WC3 recommends using two quote symbols (alt=””) to define it as null text for purely decorative images.
Use headings to create a hierarchy in your text. This allows the user to know when you are changing topics or key points. It also allows the text to be broken up in a systematic way. H1 is the title of your page or post. H2 represents the big idea. H3 is subset information. H4 and lower are typically not used but can still be applied to subsets of H3.
Use content labels
If you use content holders, forms, and tables be sure apply a descriptive label them so that the user knows what the is held within the holder.
Resources and tools
A fantastic resource with all of the latest information is WC3’s WCAG 2.1. WCAG stands for web content accessibility guidelines. The site has a lot of techie jargon, so if you did not build your site or are not super duper comfortable with some of the concepts there are some great consultants that spend their days updating other people’s sites to be compliant. I strongly recommend visiting WC3’s Evaluating Web Accessibility Overview section, it has some very user-friendly ways for you to evaluate your site.
That’s a wrap!
I hope you picked up a couple of sound tips in this quick website accessibility guide. Want to chat about making your site inclusive? I would love to continue the conversation! Drop me a line or comment below.