We all know the importance of a website, particularly for brands. Not only does it act as an online shop front, but it also plays a crucial role in reinforcing business credibility.
Many people also turn to a brand’s website to find out vital information about its services or products before making a purchasing decision, so it is vital that your site is accessible to everyone.
Why is website accessibility important?
To put it simply, if your website is accessible to all it gives a greater opportunity for more people to engage with, and find out more about, your brand. Therefore, it is essential that it provides equal access and opportunity to people with diverse abilities so that no one is excluded.
It is important to note that accessibility is not limited to blind people, but there is a wide range of other needs that also need to be considered. For example, colour blindness or contrast/light sensitivity can affect how your website and its elements are experienced by its visitors.
If your website is designed to be accessible to all this can improve usability of the site for everyone and also maximise the performance of your website. This means visitors can end up spending more time reading and engaging with content rather than potentially leaving due to a poor experience, resulting in high bounce rates.
The good news is that there are some really simple things you can do which can make a very big difference.
What are the key aspects of website accessibility?
- Alt text for images - Images should always include alternative text in the code. If alt text isn't provided for images, the image information is inaccessible, for example, to users who cannot see and use a screen reader that reads the information aloud on a page.
- Contrast ratios – It is important your website is adhering to suitable contrast ratios to ensure there is a sufficient difference between the colours of text and the background it is placed on. For example, avoid light grey text on a light background as this makes it extremely difficult to read. Web pages should also have a minimum contrast by default of at least 4:5:1 for normal size text. Failing to follow this can result in users being unable to read content on your website. If in doubt, you can run checks on your website using various tools such as Contrast Checker.
- Text size – It is important to make sure that the smallest text on your website is still easily legible to all users – and that the site still functions correctly through differing zoom settings. A good way to maximise user experience via your website is by utilising tools such as Browsealoud, now ReachDeck. This tool provides reading support on websites, by reading content out loud, highlighting each word as it is spoken in a high quality, human-sounding voice.
- Multimedia – Making sure that all forms of video or audio are provided in an alternative format, such as captions and text transcripts, is also vital. It is best practice to provide both captions and transcripts. And, although it isn’t always required; providing transcripts also has further benefits to website owners too as it can also help with SEO and rankings too.
- Keyboard navigation – for users who are visually impaired, navigating can be challenging so you need to ensure all aspects of the website are keyboard accessible to help everyone to explore the site.
The points above are just a small part of what accessibility encompasses and there is lots more to discover. To find out more why not visit our web services and projects or get in touch?