Making Websites Accessible for Those with Disabilities

For most of us, experiencing a company or brand’s Website is a turnkey experience. We’ve grown accustomed to navigating a certain way and we have no issues visiting different sites. That’s not the case for everyone as the internet isn’t really “one size fits all.” For those with disabilities, it can be a vastly different and also negative experience. In a day and age where technology only continues to become more advanced and more easily accessible, we can think through solutions so that everyone in our consumer bases can have the most premium experiences possible. Read on for more tips and best practices in this space.

Did you know that approximately one billion people in the world are living with disabilities? According to Lawrence Barry, an expert in the space, the first step is to identify what the obstacles are. Look at your Website from the perspective of someone who has any variety of impairment or challenge. This is a great exercise in creativity and in understanding your broadest consumer base. While it’s not all-inclusive, it’s a best practice to ensure you’re keeping an open mind throughout the design process. Also, of note, this isn’t just limited to those with disabilities. Older generations are going to have different experiences navigating sites as well. With age comes loss of sensory acuity, as well reduced fine motor skills – both key in the world of online.

Making Websites Accessible for Those with Disabilities

Taking all of that into account, there are still adjustments and updates that you can make:

Subtitles and transcripts

This is especially applicable if your site leverages a lot of video content. Add subtitles and transcriptions for those with hearing impairments. This is a lower lift than you think. Sites like YouTube have tools readily available so that you can do this yourself with minimal time and investment.

Alt tags

Unfamiliar? If you visit a site and hover over a photo, there may be text that shows up. These little words are alt tags. They’re especially beneficial for your site visitors who are visually impaired. They may use screen readers, which are programs that read the text on site’s out loud. If your site uses alt tags on images, then these users will know exactly what they’re looking at. Again, these can be a fun opportunity to get creative – they’re a new outlet to help tell the story of your brand.

Link descriptions

It’s easy to put “click here” or “visit here” or “buy here now” as your call to action when including links on your site. But this could be to your detriment. Try describing the link, like “check out this particular product at this link” or “you can access the video referenced at this link”. Bonus points if you shift the colour of your links to one that’s a stark contrast from the rest of the text. This makes the text stand out more and encourages visitors to spend more time on your site.

Questions? Comments? Let us know. The team at Yarra Web would love to hear from you.

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