15% of the world's population experience some form of disability. That comes out to roughly 1 billion people! And one-fifth of the estimated global total, or between 110 million and 190 million people, experience significant disabilities.
That’s too many potential users to ignore. On top of that, accessibility also enhances digital experiences for non-disabled users as well, allowing them to more easily navigate, interact with, and understand any website. Taking steps to improve your site’s accessibility, straight away you can expand your user base and gain an edge over most of your competitors. Adopting inclusion design practices and a UX-for-all mindset is not only essential for a just modern society, it tells the world and all its users that inclusion is at the heart of your company – not just lip service. It’s part of who you are, your brand, and how you see the world.
Accessibility means more users, better offerings, and improved brand image – sounds fantastic, but getting there also feels like a tall order. We realise that getting started on your accessibility journey is a bit overwhelming, but it doesn't have to be. We’ve put together a list of the Top Ten most helpful accessibility Do’s and Don’ts for content editors so you can identify how to get started in making your digital content as accessible as it should be.
1. DON’T think of accessibility as a milestone
Just like web maintenance, accessibility should be an ongoing process. Because technology evolves and content is being continuously added and changed, it is essential that your accessibility level is maintained by reviewing updates of the markup and of digital content.
This is a wise practice to keep your compliance level stable and to be ready for future accessibility optimisations!
2. DO! Organise and structure your content with headings
Thoughtfully structuring your content will make the information on your site much easier to understand and digest, and it’ll improve the flow of the site's overall navigation, messaging and offerings. Make sure you aren’t just using visual indications to set apart flow text and headings. Instead, use semantic, descriptive headings (which include accurate terms to convey the specific meaning of your content). Nesting headings per their levels and by avoiding skipping any levels, these practices help to denote page structure and spell out the document’s navigational and informational hierarchy so that users can access and navigate your content with ease – especially those users relying on assistive technologies. It also helps your Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).
3. DON’T get yourself in trouble — get ahead of accessibility regulations and government requirements
With expanding public awareness of web accessibility challenges for people with disabilities, legal action to right these obstacles is becoming more common, with courts often making decisions in favour of equal access. Check the regulations applying to your site and make sure you get ahead and stay ahead of upcoming government and legal regulations!
4. DO! Include alternative text for your images
Alternative text – otherwise known as “alt text” – is essential to accessibility. It supplies web users using screen readers with a textual description of images. Alt text is also displayed when image files won’t load or if a user has opted not to view images. Curating concise, descriptive alt text for all your images is really helpful for people that have to rely on them. For images that also contain a link, make sure that the alt text relays both the content and function of the element. When implemented correctly, alt text is another way to give your SEO a boost.
5. DON’T add text as an image
As often as possible, instead of using images of text or images that contain text, just use actual text. Zooming in on images of text usually results in a blurry, pixelated experience. That’s not good for any user. Also, since having a decent contrast is really helpful for accessibility, avoid placing text against complex backgrounds like photos. If you do, make sure the text has sufficient contrast (at least 3:1 for large, and 4.5:1 for small-sized text)!
6. DO! Use closed-captioning and add transcripts for multimedia
If your site makes use of video media, providing visual accessibility to the audio information via closed-captioning is an absolute must. With auto-captioning software baked into most video platforms, it’s simple to include. Make sure you provide transcripts for nonvisual media as well, like podcasts and recorded interviews, including descriptions that really reflect the auditory experiences. Audio descriptions can also enhance the understanding of important visual details in video media.
7. DON’T give your links and calls-to-action (CTA) ambiguous labels
Make sure all your links and calls-to-action are unique and accurately describe the link’s destination. All too often pages will make use of more than one CTA and link, with the same descriptive text: learn more, click here, etc… Make sure the labels of your links and CTAs can be understood out of context as well. This will avoid frustrating your users with a chaotic navigational experience when looking at these actionable elements with partial or no context. Make things simple for all users by using CTAs that make sense independent of context and state loud and clear what they’re for!
8. DO! Make your page titles meaningful and unique
Because page titles are usually the first text a screen reader detects, by using unique and meaningful page titles with accurate and informative descriptors, you can empower accessibility tools like screen readers to provide users with important context. Consistent implementation of accurate page titles not only maximises SEO, it also helps out all users (for instance, when using multiple open tabs) to navigate their experience more effectively.
9. DO! Keep content clear and concise
Clarity is key! By keeping your content as simple as possible, your users will find it easier to understand and digest. Taking simple actions like consistently defining acronym meanings and technical terms will vastly improve the understanding for your users, with or without disabilities.
10. DO! Take an accessibility assessment
Consider an accessibility assessment or a targeted accessibility audit to ensure your site is always in compliance with the regulations that affect you. Accessibility allows you to boost business while making the world a better place – that’s a win-win!
If you want to find out more about what you can do to ensure your site is compliant, our accessibility team is here to help. Amazee Labs offers a range of accessibility audits that can help you get started with a review that suits your current business goals – reach out to our certified accessibility experts, today!
1. World report on disability : Main report (English). Washington, D.C. : World Bank Group. http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/665131468331271288/Main-report
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