Posted on August 16th, 2016
When making a custom website it is important to take into consideration who might need to understand it. Not everyone will be able to view your web page in the same way. For example how could a visually impaired person read a web page using Google Chrome? They can’t. People who need help viewing a web page often need other technologies to help them navigate the internet; as a web developer or website owner it is up to you to help these technologies deliver the best possible user experience – just like you do for everyone else.
Often when talking to clients I ask if they need their website to be considered “Accessible”, if they do I may ask what level. This is to gauge how important this component is in the website to the business or if it is required. The guidelines I use to make a website accessible are the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 guidelines. By ensuring that your website meets these guidelines you can help deliver an amazing user experience despite the user requiring assistive technology.
Major Areas That Can Be Made Accessible
The guidelines cover a variety of issues that many of your readers may face. Here are some of the most major ones.
- Color contrast – some people just can’t differentiate between colours that are too similar. The easiest fix is to meet the color contrast requirements.
- Alternate text in images – using the ALT attribute for your images is important as well. Blind people may be viewing your website and their assistive technology can’t tell what the image is. This is what the ALT tag is for. You can either add in a description of leave it blank (“”). When you don’t do either many technolgies alert the user that there is an image that they can not see – resulting in a poor experience.
- Proper structure of web-page – Structuring your web pages in a way that makes sense when it is read rather then only when it is viewed. Along with using the proper tags goes a long way to helping assistive technologies.
Why You Should Make Your Website Accessible
The main reason is so that everyone can use your website. Each person’s case is unique but it may be useful to implement some guidelines even if you don’t implement all of them.
- In some areas and for some organizations it is required by law. (NOT LEGAL ADVICE)
- If your clientele includes people who require these technologies to navigate the internet then you should implement these guidelines yesterday!
- Some of the requirements just help make your website more user friendly in general by giving users more navigation options and control over thier own experience.