Web accessibility is one of the most essential aspects of website development that one should not refuse. It includes developing digital content and websites and making it accessible to people with disabilities such as cognitive, auditory, and visual. Accessibility is crucial to let people with disabilities use and access the internet without any issues, just like others. Therefore, it is necessary to understand the importance of web accessibility and why it should be the priority of businesses and website developers.
With the increase in the requirement of digital platforms, it has become essential to assure that everyone can access online content easily. Web accessibility is not only a need, but is also a moral obligation for organizations to make digital content accessible to all. In this blog, our professional web developers in Bangalore have discussed what web accessibility is and its role in modern business. You will also find several ways to improve web accessibility and its impact on SEO and user experience.
What is Web Accessibility?
The definition of web accessibility is- ‘making websites, technologies, and tools accessible to people with disabilities.’ Here, disability does not mean the loss of hearing or vision. It means that everyone should have access to online information. The internet works more inclusively and equitably when the websites are open to all. The necessity of web accessibility is available for all users, not only for people with disabilities.
Who Manages Web Accessibility on the Internet?
Ever thought about who is in charge of web accessibility on the internet? The answer is the members of the Web Accessibility Initiative (WIP) of The World Wide Web Consortium. The organization is responsible for publishing the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines and other related content.
Why is Web Accessibility Necessary?
As mentioned above, web accessibility makes the website and the content easy to understand and more user-friendly. This includes customers with limitations such as-
- Low vision
- Hearing loss
- Learning disabilities
- Speech disabilities
- Physical disabilities
- Cognitive disabilities
Web accessibility is a must-have as it enhances the experience of all users including visitors with disabilities who visit your website. Through web accessibility, you can also demonstrate the commitment of your organization. By doing this, you show your customers that you value them as individuals, and in return, this boosts the loyalty of your business.
Get to know more about website accessibility by connecting with our team of top website development company in Bangalore and avail ourselves of the best services.
How is Web Accessibility Enforced?
There are not any enforceable laws that relate to website accessibility unless you have a government website. In this case, you should abide by Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act and its guidelines.
And, as web accessibility does not include a formal law, it does not mean that your business will avoid a lawsuit. There are several cases in which companies have been sued for getting a web-accessible site. In 2017 and 2018, there was an increase of around 181% in filed lawsuits.
In simple words, businesses with websites and physical locations can integrate their site with their store location. So, this makes the website a gateway to their physical store. For this reason, a website is considered a service of accommodation by the public that meets web accessibility standards.
Web Accessibility Principles
The recent WCAG states four important web accessibility standards to create a web-accessible site. These principles are guidelines you can apply wherever and whenever on your website.
#Principle 1- Operable
Operable websites are used without disturbing the users in any way. All the users can make use of the website’s functionality, from selecting a link to navigating a page and pausing audio and video. So, the most operable website is simple to use. Also, there is no addition of functionalities that could impede users with impairments.
#Principle 2- Perceivable
The users should be able to understand and perceive the website content and information. Here perceive means considering visitors who have low vision or are blind to use screen reader software that converts printed text to Braille speech. So, it is essential to consider these users when you create and update your website.
#Principle 3- Understandable
All types of content on the website must be easily understandable by the users. If there is verbose and jumbled language, then it is difficult to interpret and it also limits access to visitors with cognitive impairments. So, keep the content digestible. This principle applies to the structure of the website and also to make the pages organized and navigation available to the visitors.
#Principle 4- Robust
The website content should be easy to interpret for the users, involving those who use technologies like screen readers. For this, focus on writing your HTML code in such a way that allows assistive technology to parse it without any visual reference.
How to Make the Website Accessible to the Audience?
After considering these four principles listed above, you may realize that your business website does not meet these standards. Or, you took your website through an accessibility test tool and did not get the desired score.
Therefore, the WCAG offers various guidelines for every principle that you can implement. Let us know about them in further detail.
Web Accessibility Guidelines
Here are the comprehensive web accessibility guidelines to know for providing website access to visitors with disabilities.
1. Provide time to engage with the website
Let the users get time to read, watch, and use the content on your website across a time constraint. If there is any time limit for any action, then users should be allowed to extend it or cancel it. This also applies to accessible drop-down menus- if a user does not get engaged with the menu from the mouse, then set a time delay before the menu disappears.
2. Provide text alternatives
All the non-text items on your web page including images, videos, and audio should have a text alternative to let the non-sighted individuals understand them. One such common approach to meet this guideline is the Image alt text and it is advised to add alt text for every non-decorative image on the website.
3. Provide website content in a way that is easy to see and hear
For visitors with sight, it is important to use color contrast so that everyone can read the website content easily and understand any type of visual information that you want to convey. Also, users should be able to adjust the audio in the background of your website or give a halt to the audio playback.
4. Provide complete functionality using the keyboard
Some users access your website without a touchpad or mouse. So, make sure to make all the website functionalities accessible with the keyboard. For instance- the tab key should allow users to jump between different elements on the page, and let the ‘enter key’ click the elements in focus.
5. Provide the right structure to the web pages
When planning the structure and navigation of the website, add the navigational pages and links in such a way that looks intuitive to the users. This involves keeping navigation on the top of the page commonly in the header.
6. Provide useful error messages
A user never likes getting error messages, so it is necessary to deliver a clear description of the error and the right instructions to help visitors correct their mistakes.
7. Provide HTML code that can be parsed
There are assistive technologies that use a web page HTML file to translate the content into another format. So, the HTML code must be well-written. For web accessibility, it should use start and end tags when necessary and avoid using duplicate Ids across different elements and duplicate attributes across the same HTML tag,
Now that we have understood what web accessibility is, why it is necessary for the business, and what its essential guidelines are, let us now see some tools that can assist you to make the website accessible.
Web Accessibility Tools
There are multiple web accessibility tools available in the online market. Here, we have compiled some of them to use for your website if you are looking for website accessibility solutions for your business.
By WebAIM, WAVE provides several tools to let you evaluate your website accessibility. It gives a visual representation of the areas of the website that could use improvements to be more accessible.
Next is SortSite by PowerMapper which evaluates the website accessibility as a whole in just a click. There are 1200 standards and guidelines used by the tool to determine the website’s accessibility. Some of the accessibility SortSite reviews on a website includes SEO, privacy, web standards, broken links, and many more.
- DYNO Mapper
DYNO Mapper by Indigo Design Company LLC is a sitemap generator to display website accessibility by using audits, content inventories, and keyword tracking. The tool is integrated with Google Analytics to let in-depth analysis work with identifiable areas for website accessibility.
Want to use any of these tools? Contact the developers at the leading website development company in Bangalore who always try to help the clients as much as possible.
Now, you know the importance of website accessibility and prioritize your website design. So, it is good to make your website accessible and WCAG-compliant to develop a positive and memorable user experience and boost the loyalty of the customers.
By ensuring website accessibility, you are doing everything right for the people who matter a lot to your business. Therefore, make sure to use the tools and techniques listed in the write-up and review all the examples that we have listed to get the ideal inspiration to make your website accessible.
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