Web accessibility is the practice of making a website usable for all people with disabilities. Users should all have equal access to information, despite visual, motor, auditory, or other disabilities. This accessibility comes back to the coding and creation of the website. It is easier to design a website from the ground up with these accessibility components in mind, but it isn’t impossible to alter an existing website. These components are essential for providing equal service opportunities to all users.
Accessibility for the Visually Impaired
While coding a site, it is important to take into consideration those with visual impairments and the accessibility components that are necessary for them to interact successfully with your website. It is crucial that alternative text is included with images. This allows for text-to-speech software and text-to-Braille software to translate the image text to words for the visually impaired. This gives the user the complete information on the site, despite a disability. This also includes transcriptions of videos for the text-to-speech or text-to-Braille devices to translate to the user. Visually impaired does not only include the blind, but also those with poor eyesight and color blindness. For colorblind individuals, it is important that you underline or vary the text of links in more ways than just a change of color. This allows them to notice the difference to click on the link without relying on color.
Accessibility for the Motor Impaired
Those who have difficulty with motor skills and mobility often have limited ability to use their hands due to tremors, muscle slowness, loss of muscle control, etc. This can sometimes affect a user’s ability to move a mouse with precision. In order to accommodate these individuals, it can help to make clickable links a bit larger than other text. This way, even a slightly less precise mouse movement will get the user to the page they are looking to go to. It also helps to design your pages so there is some space between links, making it easier to get to the correct page. While coding your website, try to incorporate coding so pages can be navigated with a keyboard or a switch access device. This helps users who cannot use a standard keyboard as well.
Accessibility for the Auditory Impaired
Coding for those with auditory disabilities allows for videos with closed captioning or a sign language version to be available on the site. This allows for deaf or hard-of-hearing individuals to have the same usability experience as those without these disabilities. Interviews can be transcribed onto the site as well.
Creating a website that is accessible to all users is crucial for the success and development of your website. Incorporating these features into initial coding can eliminate additional work later on. There are other ways to make your website accessible; giving the option to enlarge text, making certain features such as flashing or movement optional, or turning on or off sounds from the site. These additional features provide a more equal opportunity for all visitors to your site. It is important that all users be offered the same experience on your website, despite any disabilities. Find out more about web accessibility here.