The Web: A Place for All
Web accessibility has never been more important, with the UN claiming that over 3 billion people use the internet for many aspects of their lives, from education, employment, and banking to gaming, socialising, and dating. The internet has become widespread within our increasingly diverse society, so web design should reflect this and try to become accessible for all.
The UK government does have some legal requirements for website accessibility with the government website providing all you need to know about the law and accessibility. Your website is how you and your audience interact, so the more people that find your website safe and easy to navigate shows your commitment to making the web a place for all.
Who Needs Assistance?
In order to understand what needs to be done first, we need to find out who we are doing it for. There are several groups that struggle with web accessibility and knowing who they are and what they need is the key to knowing how to help. About 20% of the population in the UK experience some sort of disability that stops them from accessing websites.
People who are visually impaired, have a hearing impairment, or a cognitive impairment may all struggle to navigate a website that has not taken their requirements into consideration. Other groups that should not be forgotten are the elderly, people with limited technology knowledge, as well as fully able people wanting a quick and speedy interaction with your website.
Steps to Improve Your Site Accessibility
What should you do to help increase the accessibility of your site? There are many different things that can be done which vary in difficulty and implementation times. In a perfect scenario, accessibility should be an important issue when building the website to ensure the best possible outcome. However, there are many things that can be done to help an existing website become accessible from improving font size to the use of pictures and other forms of media.
Here are 5 things you can do to make your website more accessible today:
- Label all images – make sure that all images are labeled correctly, helping those with visual impairment. Look at your website without the images and see if the text is sufficient.
- Use accessible English – try and avoid using slang or colloquialisms that may confuse people whose first language isn’t English and to avoid any potential confusion with English speakers from around the world.
- Make the website consistent – this will help everybody navigate your site more easily, having a consistent toolbar or format for links is easily achievable.
- Include bulleted lists – such as this one! This helps to make your important content easier to understand, be it from a video or a larger piece of text.
- User testing – a great way to make sure your website is accessible is to test your site on people with accessibility problems to see how easy it is for them to navigate.
Blog post by Jackie Edwards
About Jackie Edwards
After taking a career sabbatical to become a mother, Jackie now writes full time on topics ranging from health and wellness, right through to news and current affairs. She has, in the past battled problems with anxiety and panic, and in her spare time she volunteers for a number of local charities that support people with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Jackie is herself, autistic, and her eldest daughter is too.