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How to Make Your Website Accessible to Disabled Users

FOLASAYO SAMUEL OLAYEMI's photo
FOLASAYO SAMUEL OLAYEMI
·Jan 4, 2023·

6 min read

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Table of contents

  • What Is Web Accessibility?
  • What are the necessary steps to take in making your website accessible to those with impairments?

What Is Web Accessibility?

The World Wide Web Consortium(W3C) defines web accessibility as the process of creating websites, tools, and technologies that are usable by individuals with impairments or disabilities.

The ability to see, comprehend, navigate, engage with, and contribute to the online should be available to those with impairments.

What are the necessary steps to take in making your website accessible to those with impairments?

  1. Allow Users to Enlarge Font Sizes

    Frequently, people with impaired eyesight are unable to read small text sizes.

    Therefore, when users browse your website, they must employ particular font settings.

    It should be simpler for people to understand your material if you provide an alternative style sheet that allows users to increase the font size without messing up the layout of your page.

    Additionally, make sure the font size on your CTA buttons is larger.

    Make these buttons visible to those with vision impairments as well.

  2. Consider contrast sensitivity

    Be sure to consider contrast and color along with font size.

    Low color contrast sensitivity is a symptom of vision disorders. When designing your web pages, make sure to have a high contrast between the foreground and background.

    Additionally, try to stay away from any JavaScript or CSS features that might make it impossible for people with vision loss to increase the contrast.

    The importance of color contrast for CTAs is comparable to that of text size.

    While black text on a white background has the highest readability, you can also use a combination of black text on a yellow background and yellow text on a blue background.

  3. Add Images with Alt Text

    Despite the saying "a picture is worth a thousand words," photos and other visual elements represent an accessibility barrier for users who are blind or have impaired vision.

    They frequently have to rely on assistive devices like refreshable Braille Readers and Screen Readers. Software applications called Screen Readers read text from the screen aloud using a synthesizer or Braille display.

    Both of these technologies, however, are unable to understand images or the text contained inside them.

    Therefore, you must use Alt Text to describe your images to viewers who are disabled. Be sure to give the image the most precise description you can.

    For succinct descriptions, use the alt attribute, and for lengthy descriptions, use the "Longdesc Tag."

  4. Reduce the Use of Tables

    Blind users are typically informed by screen readers of the number of rows and columns a table has. But it can be difficult for screen readers to comprehend tabular data in a way that corresponds to the visual order.

    Therefore, whenever possible, utilize CSS to convey data.

    If you must make a table, make sure that each row and column has the appropriate headings.

    Additionally, you can use HTML5 table captions to give your impaired users more context.

  5. Add Keyboard Navigation

    Navigation might be difficult for people who are blind or visually impaired.

    You must include keyboard navigation on your website because they can't use a mouse to navigate the site.

    Braille keyboards will be used by blind users to visit your website.

    Ensure that all of your website's interactive features are accessible to people with disabilities, including:

    I. URLs

    II. Anchor text

    III. Drop-down menus

    IV. Widgets

    V. Forms

    VI. CTAs

    VII. Dialog boxes

    Make JavaScript widgets keyboard-accessible as well.

    As an alternative, you can ensure that every component of your website is keyboard-accessible by using just HTML links, buttons, and form fields.

  6. Make Video and Multimedia Accessible

    The usage of videos and other multimedia components on your website is essential for boosting user engagement. Users who are blind or visually impaired cannot see images, while those who are deaf or have hearing impairments cannot hear audio.

    You can utilize an audio description to explain portions that are only visible in the visual medium, such as images, gestures, and setting changes. It will help blind users to enjoy the video.

    Use your best judgment when including an audio description, though.

    Be careful not to overwhelm the user with hours of audio description that have no purpose.

    For users who are deaf or hard-of-hearing, you can offer written subtitles that sync with the video and audio tracks. To properly emphasize the captions, apply the appropriate color contrast. You must use an accessible multimedia player.

    Thankfully, HTML5 players provide you a better chance to include accessibility.

  7. Avoid Using Placeholder Text in Forms

    To save space, placeholder text is frequently used to describe different items in online forms. Placeholder text, however, is typically gray.

    Because of the low contrast, readers with vision impairments cannot read it.

    Additionally, because it is a non-label text, screen readers will typically skip the placeholder text. As a result, users who are blind will also be unable to view this text.

    Use a persistent ARIA property or the <label> tag in place of placeholder text. Also, make the text and background as contrasted as possible.

    These actions will increase usability for individuals who are blind or visually challenged.

    To prevent generating a disorganized web form, keep these tips in mind.

    Try to keep it as straightforward as you can.

  8. Use Descriptive URLs

    Descriptive URLs can be interpreted by screen readers fast and accurately, giving blind and visually impaired users some context. It is also simpler to jump to the appropriate content when the descriptions are meaningful.

    Consider the following, for instance, when describing the link to the "About" page.

    I. Low Readability: svdcse.xyz/about

    II. High Readability: svdcse.xyz/about-our-company

    On any part of the website, stay away from using anchor text like "Read More" or "Click Here."

    Lastly, links to images that cannot support Alt Text should also not be included.

  9. Use ARIA Roles

    ARIA means Accessible Rich Internet Applications. This helps in making dynamic content more accessible.

    Screen readers and other assistive tools can learn more about a webpage element through ARIA roles and attributes.

    ARIA roles can be added by using the role=<"ROLE TYPE>" property.

    The six most typical ARIA role classifications are as follows:

    I. Abstract: It helps organize and streamline a document.

    II. Landmark: This role is used for navigation by screen readers.

    III. Document Structure: It provides a section's structural breakdown.

    IV. Widget: It describes interactive components for which HTML doesn't have semantic analogues.

    V. Window: It adds a subsection or subcategory to the primary document.

    VI. Live Regions: It helps assistive tools to detect dynamic content changes on a webpage and alert disabled users.

    However, these changes should only be made by those who have access to the source code and are familiar with ARIA and HTML5.

    Conclusion

    Always consider accessibility when building a website.

    Hopefully, these guidelines will be useful to you as you adapt your website for people with disabilities.

    Thanks for reading...

    Happy Coding!

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