Web accessibility has a lot to offer if done correctly. Let’s learn more about its concept, value, and steps to integrate it into your product.
The internet has become the gateway to a wealth of information and services. As it continues to evolve, ensuring everyone has equal access to this digital realm is crucial. That’s where web accessibility comes into play.
What Is Web Accessibility?
Web accessibility is about making the web a place that welcomes everyone. It’s about building websites and apps that everyone can use, understand, and navigate, regardless of physical or cognitive impairments. Think of it as creating an online world that’s truly inclusive, where everyone can participate and contribute.
But when we talk about disabilities, what do we mean? In the context of web accessibility, we’re not just referring to visual impairments. It encompasses a wide range of conditions, including auditory, motor, cognitive, and more.
4 Reasons to Comply with Web Accessibility
You might be wondering why you should care about web accessibility. Well, there are several compelling reasons why business owners and development teams should conform to it.
1. Inclusivity—Web accessibility is a way to break down digital barriers. This ensures that everyone can access and use online content and services. It’s a matter of inclusivity and equal opportunities for all.
2. Legal Requirements—Many countries have established laws and regulations that mandate web accessibility. Non-compliance can lead to legal headaches, fines, and damages to your reputation.
3. Business Benefits—Creating an accessible website isn’t just a legal obligation; it’s also a smart business move. An accessible site can reach a broader audience, potentially boosting user engagement and revenue. Plus, it enhances your company’s image and brand reputation.
4. Ethical Responsibility—Beyond the legal and business aspects, ensuring web accessibility is an ethical and moral responsibility. It’s about reducing discrimination and fostering a more inclusive digital world.
The Road to Building Web Accessibility: 13 Tips to Do It
Now that we’ve got the “what” and the “why” down, let’s get into the “how.” Making your web app or website accessible requires a structured approach. Here are our tips to help you every step of the way.
1. Understand Accessibility Guidelines
Start by acquainting yourself with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). It’s the holy grail of web accessibility. They are categorized into three levels of conformance: A, AA, and AAA—with AA being the most commonly targeted level.
2. Conduct Accessibility Audits
Combine automated testing tools like Axe or WAVE with manual web accessibility audits. This step helps you identify accessibility issues that need fixing. It can be a missing alternative text for images, keyboard navigation problems, or insufficient color contrast.
3. Provide Alternative Text
Images and multimedia content need love, too! So, ensure that all non-text elements have descriptive alternative text. This helps screen readers convey the content to users who can’t see it. Imagine a screen reader saying, “Image123.jpg” versus “smiling dog with a red ball.” You know the latter is way better than the non-descriptive one.
4. Keyboard Accessibility
Some folks rely on keyboards for navigation. That is why you must ensure all interactive elements and functionality are available using a keyboard alone. This way, anyone can navigate your site without clicking a mouse.
5. Use Semantic HTML
Don’t be lazy with your HTML. Use semantic HTML elements (like headings, lists, and tables) to provide a clear document structure that aids navigation and understanding. Remember, screen readers thrive on well-structured content.
6. Color Contrast
Your color choices matter! Consider providing sufficient contrast between text and background to make content readable for individuals with visual impairments. It’s not just about aesthetics; it’s about usability.
7. Keyboard Focus Styles
Have you ever tried navigating a website using only your keyboard? Well, some people do. So, provide clear and visible focus styles for interactive elements. Users should know where they are on the page.
8. Video and Audio Accessibility
If your website has multimedia content, include captions and transcripts. Provide controls for users to pause, play, and adjust the volume. You’d be surprised how many people rely on these features.
9. Responsive Design
There is a plethora of devices available today. So, ensure your website is responsive and usable on various screen sizes, including mobile phones and tablets. Responsive design isn’t just trendy but also an accessibility requirement.
10. User Testing
Don’t make web accessibility an abstract concept. Involve people with disabilities in usability testing. Their feedback is invaluable in identifying real-world accessibility issues.
Educate your development and content teams about web accessibility principles and best practices. A little knowledge goes a long way in ensuring proper accessibility integration into your organization’s culture.
12. Regular Maintenance
Web accessibility isn’t a one-time task. Continuously monitor and maintain your website’s accessibility. As you add new content or features, ensure they adhere to accessibility guidelines. Staying vigilant is vital.
13. Document Accessibility Policy
Develop and publish a policy that outlines your commitment to accessibility. It should provide contact information for accessibility inquiries or issues. Transparency matters and it can boost your brand reputation.
Web Accessibility Is Beneficial For Your Web Apps
We have already entered an era where the internet plays a pivotal role in our daily lives. That is why ensuring web accessibility isn’t just a technical checkbox. Instead, it’s fundamental to creating a more inclusive, equitable, and welcoming digital space for all.
So, let’s champion the cause of web accessibility and make the web a better place for everyone, one accessible website at a time. It’s not just a choice; it’s the right thing to do.
Full Scale Can Help With Your Web Accessibility Integration
We’re an offshore software development company based in Kansas City, Missouri. But our development center is in the Philippines—where our highly skilled and experienced teams work behind the scenes.
Full Scale has a robust vetting process. Thus, we are confident that our developers, testers, and leaders are top-tier in their fields. So, if you need help integrating web accessibility functions into your product, we can help you build a team quickly and affordably.