The Do’s and Dont’s of Website Accessibility

GUEST POST: The Do’s and Dont’s of Website Accessibility

Accessibility should be at the core of your design when building your website. According to the CDC, one in four adults in the United States has a disability. A website without accessibility aids ostracizes 25 percent of the population from your potential audience.

Accessible design also makes your website easier for everyone to use. Technology that was originally developed to increase accessibility has become mainstream for this reason. Take voice control, for example. People use Siri, Alexa, Cortana, and many other voice-controlled AI assistants every day.

Building an accessible website is easier than you think, and you might even be doing so without realizing it. If you want to ensure your website is accessible and easy to use for all, here are some simple do’s and don’ts:

Don’t Rely On One Navigation Method

Picture navigating a website. You probably envisioned point-and-click navigation, which requires using a mouse. However, many users can’t operate a mouse. A website that relies solely on this navigation style would be inaccessible to them. One easy way to accommodate these users is to incorporate keyboard-based navigation; such as scrolling up and down with the arrow keys.

Do Use Headings to Organize Information

Using accurate, well-placed headings to organize information makes your website easier to navigate. Headings break up the information provided into smaller chunks to increase readability. They are also an immense help to clients who use screen readers to navigate websites. Properly coded headings give screen reader users the ability to navigate to the content relevant to them. Google’s crawler bots will scan for these headings as well, so incorporating them into your website design is beneficial to SEO.

Don’t Use Generic Links

Nothing about your brand should be generic, not even your links. Generic links are a blight upon the user experience of all. When you click a link, it should be very clear what information you are about to access. Simply saying “click here,” tells the user nothing, click here for what? When links are labeled clearly, such as “contact us” the user knows that the next page will contain contact information for your business. 

Do Use Alt Text

Alternative text, or alt text, is a text description of the visual elements in the website’s code. These text descriptions are read aloud by screen readers to convey key information. To provide the best user experience for people who require screen readers, you want your alt text to be concise and descriptive. The Accessible Name and Description Indicator is a tool that shows you what a screen reader sees. You can use this to check the quality of your alt text. Since crawler bots utilize alt text as well, this is another example of how improving website accessibility can also improve your SEO. 

When it comes to improving usability, accessibility and user experience go hand in hand. When your website is easier to use, clients will have a more positive experience using it. Moreover, Google rewards sites that prioritize accessibility. Implementing the accessibility measures above is part of a good SEO strategy. Making improving website accessibility good for users and good for business.


Guest Post Author: Megan Lemon

Bio: Communication, UX design, and ableism all elicit a passionate response from Megan. Since obtaining a degree in Communications with a focus on Mass Media, Megan has been interested in how these passions intersect to improve online spaces in an increasingly digital world. Reach out to her on LinkedIn!

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