The importance of accessibility in your website

Website design and development is driven by striking user interfaces and clever user flows. One important aspect of the development of websites, applications, and mobile applications which is often overlooked and downplayed is accessibility. It is important that your website or application tailors to a person who has a kind of disability, whether that be someone with low vision, someone who is deaf, or someone with limited dexterity. Ignoring this could cost you traffic.

How can we make our content accessible?

The best place to start when thinking about accessibility is with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.1 (often shortened to WCAG) published by the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). This handy document will provide a detailed description of how to achieve the gold standard for accessible content within each category. Each category consists of level which is ranked from A to AAA, although some categories only require you to achieve A level rank to be given the gold standard AAA rating.

Where do we start?

There is no one place to start but beginning with the non-text content will allow you to grasp the idea behind WCAG. Imagine that you have a table of images and logos on your homepage. By giving each image or logo an ‘aria-label’ attribute with meaningful description, your homepage will become A compliant in the ‘Non-text Content’ category. This means that users with low vision can have their accessibility helper read out the label to give them an idea of what the logo or image is.

Another good place to start is with the colour contrast of your images and text. This follows the basic principle that the ‘The visual presentation of text and images of text has a contrast ratio of at least 4.5:1’. In short, making sure your text is clearly visible is the key; no blue text on a green background! There are lots of contrast checkers out there to help you identify what you will need to be AA or AAA compliant.

This will give you a good idea of where to start, which development tools to use, and how to approach thinking about accessibility. The examples above were mainly aimed at users with low vision, but reading the WCAG guidelines will show you exactly what you need to do for users with other kinds of disabilities. Speak to the team at Excalibur Digital today to find out more about how to make a difference to your website’s accessibility.

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