According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 61 million U.S. adults live with a disability.
That’s one out of four adults in the country.
It’s important to recognize this is a big potential audience for your company. Otherwise, you’re excluding one-fourth of the country’s population.
Your digital marketing strategy is designed to attract all and any potential customers to your website. With accessible websites, you don’t have to exclude this audience group.
Otherwise, your website becomes difficult for people with disabilities to navigate and use.
Here are seven key features to include when making websites accessible. That way, you can make the most of your digital marketing and include everyone.
1. Make it Keyboard-Friendly
We need the ability to navigate throughout a website. If someone can’t explore, they can’t read or interact with your content. This can drop your click-through-rate and cause a higher bounce rate.
Both can impact your ranking on search engine pages.
Accessible websites remedy this issue by allowing visitors to navigate without a mouse. Instead, they use keyboard-only navigation.
That way, visitors can access everything from pages, links, content, and images.
Some websites allow visitors to navigate using the Tab key. That way, visitors can jump between links, buttons, forms, and navigation with ease.
Check your website for keyboard accessibility. If there are areas visitors can’t interact with using their keyboard, update them! That way, every visitor can properly navigate throughout your site.
2. Provide Easily Accessible Content
Accessible websites also make it easy for visitors to reach content on the page.
This might not seem like a concern until you realize your page has dynamic content.
This content changes without the page reloading. If assistive tools can’t recognize that change, website visitors with disabilities won’t either.
When someone visits your website, you want them to find and interact with your content. That way, you can boost engagement and perhaps convert that visitor into a sale. Accessible websites also:
- Enhance your brand (showing you’re inclusive, diverse, and responsible)
- Drive innovation (solving unanticipated problems)
- Extend market reach (the global market of people with disabilities includes a spending power of more than $6 trillion)
- Minimize legal risk (some countries have laws requiring digital accessibility)
You can visit this helpful page to discover more reasons for making websites accessible.
There are a few ways you can improve this content for website accessibility.
For example, you can add ARIA landmarks. You can add these tags on dynamic content so they’re defined on the page. That way, assistive tools recognize when that content changes.
ARIA landmarks are a flexible and efficient website accessibility feature for any company website.
3. All Images Deserve Alt Tags
When you add images to a WordPress website, there’s a field called “Alternative Text.” This replaces the image with text if the image fails to load.
You can use this field to describe the image. Then, assistive tools can read these descriptions. That way, visually impaired website visitors can still recognize the content.
Users with visual impairments often use screen readers or replace CSS styles with rules that remove visual barriers. To improve your website accessibility for these visitors, you can also:
- Avoid using color to convey information
- Avoid using CSS to deliver critical information
- Offer alternatives to audio and video content
- Use descriptive link text
- Remain cautious using dynamic content
- Use the ARIA roles
You can also add closed captions to your media. This also helps visitors who can’t play audio at work or in a noisy location.
Just add text transcripts to your audio video content and you’re good to go.
As an added bonus, this can benefit your SEO ranking, too!
4. Take Care with Colors
Color blindness causes people to perceive colors in unique ways. To avoid issues, select colors that contrast well on your website. That way, visitors can distinguish between elements on the page.
This is especially important for text. To make sure your text stands out against the page background, use a dark color against a light one.
Try to avoid colors with similar shades in hue and saturation.
Otherwise, the content becomes difficult to read. You can use this Contrast Checker tool for guidance.
5. Structure with Headers
Accessible websites also prioritize structure. Using headers makes it easier for visitors to skim and digest your content. This can improve the flow of your content, too.
That way, screen readers (and website visitors) don’t struggle to interpret your pages.
Instead, you’re making in-page navigation easier. All you have to do is use correct heading levels within your content.
Instead of just using one H1 on the page, mix it up with subheadings. You can nest content within H2s, H3s, and H4s. That way, your content is organized and easy to follow.
6. Design Forms for Accessibility
You can’t convert website visitors without an easy-to-use form.
Accessible websites feature forms that are clearly labeled. To do this, place labels adjacent to their respective fields.
This makes it easier for screen readers to navigate within the form.
You can also add instructions to each form. That way, it’s easy for visitors to understand and fill out each field.
7. Avoid Automatic Features
Music and video content that plays automatically is already annoying. However, it can ruin your website accessibility, too.
Imagine how that might impact a screen reader. It can also surprise a visually impaired visitor.
Avoid automatic content such as carousels and sliders while you’re at it.
However, it’s important not to turn off user scalability, which is also automatic. This can make it difficult for users to resize text as needed.
Instead, test your font sizes. Make sure it’s easy to read your text on any device.
Access(ability) Granted: Making The Best Accessible Websites
With these seven key features for making the best accessible websites, you’re no longer excluding a potential audience. Instead, you’re making your website easy for everyone to use.
That way, you can attract potential customers to your website. Plus, website accessibility shows visitors you’re inclusive and responsible, too!
Visit the Web Development section of our blog for more website improvement tips.