We often think about web accessibility as a consideration of the needs of those with disabilities. However, it’s essential for all of us. Do you view content on a small screen such as a mobile phone or smartwatch? Have you ever had to work in bright sunlight or in a noisy environment? Do you sometimes have a slow internet connection? Accessibility is about delivering practical website usability across a range of situations and circumstances. Here are 5 key checks to get you started:
These can be embedded into every web page and are what you can see in the tabs at the top of many browsers. They should state a clear, concise and accurate description of the page. Not only do they enable users of all abilities to easily tab between open browser pages, but they are also a key element for search engine optimisation (SEO) too! This can be easily checked in your Content Management Systems (CMS) and most browsers.
Image text alternatives
Text alternatives (“alt text”) are essential for all images and graphics that provide important information on a web page. They should describe what the image is showing so anyone who can’t see the picture can have some understanding of the content. Again, these are key elements for SEO. So, your pictures get profile and showing in the SERPS (Search Engine Results Pages).
These are essential for breaking up content on a page and enable users to skim and scan for elements of interest. A heading hierarchy is essential for consistency and each level needs to be ‘marked up’ with a font size, colour etc. The lead heading is the ‘h1’ and should summarise what the page is about. Yes, you guessed it! Search engines consider the ‘h1’ information too!
This is the colour contrast between the text and the background colour or image. Web browsers should enable this to be switched. Nevertheless, why make reading content more difficult than it needs to be? If the contrast ratio for your standard text size is at least 4.5:1, then you’re making it easy for everyone to read!
Many of us need to enlarge the text from time to time to be able to read it! Most browsers do make this quite easy. However, on many websites, this can cause rendering problems with text content ‘crashing’ into other areas or disappearing out of view altogether. Therefore, check enlarged text view behaviours for your website across all the main browsers and resolve any issues.
“The power of the Web is in its universality. Access by everyone regardless of disability is an essential aspect.”
Tim Berners-Lee, W3C Director and inventor of the World Wide Web
About Nick Day
Nick Day is a valued Associate Trainer here at DSC. With over 30 years of experience in marketing, he started in advertising but now focuses mainly on maximising the many opportunities presented by digital media.
As well as being a practitioner, Nick leads a variety of training. He has delivered accredited marketing qualifications for over a decade and has delivered in-house training for commercial and charitable organisations including Sony, British Airways, Royal Mail, Parkinson’s UK, Age UK and Amnesty International.
Nick will be hosting a workshop on the essentials of a website at our all-new marketing conference: The Ultimate Guide to Marketing you Charity.