Internet

Published on January 26th, 2020 | by Manish Gehlot

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Steps In Making Your Website Inclusive and Accessible

The internet is now the most widely used resource in many aspects of our lives. Booking a flight, hailing a taxi, finding new recipes, or starting a business, we use the internet.

However, there are still a large number of people who have difficulty in accessing the internet. A significant percentage of this number are persons with disabilities. Not all websites may be easily accessible to them.

We are slowly fighting social inclusivity, why not continue it to the internet and website since it is now one of our significant commodities. Here are the steps you can make so your website can be inclusive and accessible.

Include adequate audio and visual aid.

You should choose your graphics carefully and avoid ones that flash more than three times per second. Extreme flashing could inadvertently induce a seizure in someone who is browsing the page.

If you have videos on your site, you may want to include subtitles and an audio transcript to aid hearing-impaired users.

Also, consider adding alt tags on important images and graphics. Visually impaired users use a screen reader that reads the alt tags aloud. The alt tags can help them know what the image is.

Take time in describing the images accurately for the alt tags to provide the correct information for the image. It is also helpful to provide alt tags in graphs, infographics, charts.

Avoid having yellow, blue, and green close to each other because it can cause difficulties for people with colorblindness. Choose contrasting colors to differentiate website elements to make it easier for users to navigate.

As for the texts, the standard guideline is to set a font size of at least 16px, and 20px for the body text. Use black text on a white background for the best readability and contrast of the letters.

You may also want to add periods in between abbreviations so the screen reader would read it correctly, and contrast hyperlinks and regular text.

Make navigation easy.

Users should also easily control and navigate on your site using keyboard keys. Keep in mind that not all users can navigate using a touchscreen or a mouse.

Users must be able to go up or skip the bottom of the page or move from right or left. You should also consider the workings of Enter and Tab keys. It is also necessary that they can control video playback using the keyboard.

Easy navigation allows users to find the necessary information they need quickly. It will also keep them engaged and stay on the website. Good navigation also helps search engines index the important information on your site.

Headings are also extremely crucial for helping users to navigate the website. Make sure that all headings are clickable links and would direct them to the correct pages of your websites.

Headings are also helpful for users who use assistive devices like a screen reader to navigate your website. Do not include unnecessary texts to your heading to avoid confusion.

Use inclusive language.

Inclusivity in a language is also essential in your site to avoid bias, discrimination, and reflect diversity. Your website should not discriminate against groups of people in the community.

An inclusive language is especially vital for websites collecting information of the users and creating a community between them like social media sites and forums. In asking for the user’s gender, make sure to explain as to why to avoid users to feel uncomfortable. Use language that’s welcoming, reassuring, and clear.

It would also be best to offer options like “Rather not say” or “Prefer not to say” when asking for the gender. As well as to name prefixes options, like “Mr,” ” Mrs,” Ms or “rather not say.” You may also want to add a name preference for the users that they can easily change together with their gender. Some users do not adhere to gender norms.

Include an accessibility guide.

If you’re confident in making your website inclusive and accessible, include a section that shows all ways for the users to use it.

You can include tips, tricks, and tools that users can use on their computers. You may also want to provide necessary information on how to use the features and settings on your website.

You can also make a survey form where users can evaluate the accessibility of your website. In this way, you’ll know your audience, and have an idea of how effective your website is for them.

Use the information you’ve gathered as critical points in improving your site and making it more accessible and inclusive.

Evaluate your site.

After taking the steps above, you may also want to check whether it adhered to the American Disability Act. The American Disabilities Act is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with different disabilities.

You can use tools like the ada compliance website checker to know whether your site has followed all the guidelines listed in the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.

The guideline covers a wide range of suggestions for making web content more accessible. It is helpful to have a third party checker to ensure everything by the law and avoid future lawsuits.

Takeaway

It may be challenging to make your website all-inclusive and accessible to every group of people in the community, but taking these steps is undoubtedly a great start. It may require a lot of work, research, and technicalities to learn, but you’ll be rewarding your audience a user-friendly website that will always visit.

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About the Author

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I am a privacy, security, encryption and software freedom enthusiast. I am into VPNs, TLS security. Recently I also got into technical writings. I am working as a VPN support and consultant at some nordic VPN providers.



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