How to Improve Website Accessibility

When we talk about website accessibility, it mainly refers to if the website can be used by people who have certain disabilities. Take for instance if individuals with a certain type of color blindness can use your website and access the content on it. In some cases, certain compromises need to be made to improve accessibility. The below tips are for webmasters and website owners alike who aim to increase their website accessibility especially if the site is meant for people with certain disabilities.

How to Improve Website Accessibility for Any Website By Scope Design

Make sure that your web pages are not purely image dependent

One of the biggest mistakes is making your website image dependent. Even though the internet is all about interactivity and multi-media consumption making your website solely dependent on images hampers accessibility.

Don’t add images to the navigation bar

The first step to increased website accessibility is to ensure that your navigation bar is not reliant on images. Yes! A picture is worth a thousand words but only if the person can see it. A blind or visually impaired person may find it difficult to understand the picture. Not to mention the fact that it can hurt your website’s SEO efforts.

Don’t use Flash-based navigation which often requires that the person clicks on a particular part of the image to visit a specific page on the website. If you are going to use images, make sure that it’s properly tagged with each link and that you also use descriptive text. A CSS driven menu is also a good idea since its text driven and appears graphical at the same time.

The whole website shouldn’t be an image

We all know webmasters who slap together an entire website in Photoshop, create slices and then upload it as a completed website. Even the texts are as images. Such a site is nearly impossible to navigate for someone who is blind. It’s okay to use Photoshop to create a website but use a web editor to further craft the site ensuring that texts appear as texts and the image elements are only for a better appearance.

All sections should have descriptive headings

Visually impaired people will most likely be accessing your website via a commercial screen reader. Most screen readers try to make reading a website much less robotic so to speak. So, the reader for instance will read out the headings of a page and also allow for users to skip a section. It is a lot like people with good eyesight scanning a page. But for the software to do this appropriately on your page, it has to be divided into various sections, and each section should have a header. In addition to improving website accessibility, this also improves on page SEO a great deal.

All JavaScript used should be device independent

Many websites use JavaScript as part of the content. The script will either generate info for a part of the page, or it will be used as part of the navigation system or probably serve some other purpose. But if the script is dependent on a mouse and keyboard while hiding certain snippets of information which is only revealed when a link is highlighted or clicked it will present website accessibility problems. Ideally, you wouldn’t want to use JavaScript if it’s not imperative. But if it should be used it has to be device independent so that people with visual problems can also access those parts of the website.