Web accessibility involves guaranteeing that websites and any associated tools and technology can be used by people with disabilities. The website should be designed to ensure that users with visual, auditory, speech, neurological, cognitive, or physical disabilities can intuitively navigate and interact with the website.
While this is the core definition of accessibility, it can also encompass users without disabilities. A few examples are elderly users, users using a device in bright sunshine or a loud environment, and users with a slow internet connection.
International web guidelines set the standard for accessibility. According to AudioEye, “A website that is not accessible increases the legal exposure to a potential accessibility lawsuit.” With a few quick and simple tips, you can test website accessibility and make sure that your site is compliant.
Ensure keyboard accessibility
Interact with your website using only your keyboard. Without using your mouse or trackpad, only use shortcut keys and make sure that you can complete all tasks and get appropriate system feedback at all times.
Doing this guarantees that motor-compromised users who cannot manipulate a mouse, or visually impaired users who may not be able to see the mouse pointer, can use the website with just the keyboard.
Check for Alt Text
Assistive technologies like screen readers interpret images and any non-text content via alt text. An automatic accessibility scan can tell you if text alternatives exist for all your non-text content.
But you also need to make sure that the alt text is accurate. To do this, turn off images in your browser, under ‘Tools’. The resulting web page will only have text and alt text and you can check to see if the text content and the controls make sense.
Check for Captions and Transcripts
If your website has multimedia content like videos, captions are text alternatives that enable auditorily challenged users to perceive this content. An audio narration enables visually challenged users with the same. Make sure that there is a button that allows users to turn captions and audio narration on and off.
These features also help users who are consuming the content in a loud or overly bright environment. A transcript of the video dialogue will allow users with cognitive challenges, or those who are finding it difficult to keep up, to read it at their own pace.
Ensure Adequate Color Contrast
The contrast between text and background has a strong bearing on readability. Users with vision deficiencies like low vision or low-contrast vision should be able to read the text without much difficulty. Depending on the size and type of the text, the contrast ratio should be 4.5:1 or 3:1. Free tools allow you to validate the contrast automatically.
Check for Correct Field Labeling
Forms are among the most common elements with potential accessibility problems. Checkboxes, radio buttons, text input boxes and selection elements have to be accurately labelled for screen readers to be able to interpret them correctly and for users to be able to perform the correct action.
Check if Zooming Compromises Content
Many users zoom in to read the content better, especially those who have a visual deficiency. According to accessibility guidelines, webpage content, layout and controls should remain unchanged when the page is magnified up to 200%.
Accessibility makes your website legally compliant and also user-friendly. Several free online tools can help you assess website accessibility and make sure of compliance with international standards.