Achieving Accessible Website Compliancy

A person's workstation featuring a Mac computer, small laptop on a wooden stand, and an open notepad with a ballpoint pen sat atop it. In the background, a windowsill with a modest collection of cactus plants.

Ensuring that your website is fully accessible to disabled people is becoming an increasingly vital element in the success of any institution with a public-facing platform. Whether you are a small charity owner, servant of a local government, or CEO of a large conglomerate business, chances are you also own a website. If so, you bear the responsibility of ensuring that it is accessible and inclusive of all people, regardless of their ability.

Thanks to the offset of the global pandemic and the resulting shift in people’s mentality and habits, the digital realm has become the place where the majority of the world does banking, orders groceries, socializes with friends, order products, books hotels, and arranges flights. Having become just as important in our daily lives as the physical world at an unprecedented pace.

In response, considerations must be made by those who manage online platforms to be as inclusive and accessible as possible, both to the broadest possible audience as well as to the individual. That way, people with disabilities can navigate digital spaces with the same level of independence that the built environment is also expected to accommodate.

So, how do you achieve that? In simple terms, true online inclusivity effectively means providing equitable access of information to disabled people, meaning that anything a non-disabled person is able to access must be accessible to another person regardless of their disability, even if that means they are not able to use a mouse, due to tremors or spasms – or they are unable to read from their monitor, requiring a screen reader to interpret information audibly.

There are many factors involved in ensuring that a website is as accessible as it can be, so our team at Direct Access has put together a list of what we typically base our recommendations on when delivering an accessibility audit of a website. Of all the standards we use, the foundational piece is the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), which all websites must adhere to in order to be considered accessible. 

Some key considerations for enhancing website accessibility include: 

  • Keyboard Navigation: Making sure that all website features can be accessed and navigated using only a keyboard is vital for individuals who cannot use a mouse. 
  • Alt Text for Images: Adding descriptive alt text to images on the website enables individuals with visual impairments to understand the content of the images using screen readers. 
  • Contrast and Color: Ensuring sufficient color contrast throughout the website improves readability for individuals with low vision or color blindness. 
A young white man with short brown hair sits at a desk typing on his Mac computer. On his desk are numerous notepads and a cup of coffee.
  • Text Size and Scalability: Providing options to adjust text size and ensuring that the website remains usable at different font sizes benefits individuals with varying levels of visual acuity. 
  • Accessible Forms: Implementing accessible form elements, labels, and error messages allows all users, including those with screen readers, to interact with the website effectively. 
  • Captioning and Transcripts: Adding captions for videos and providing transcripts for audio content ensures that individuals with hearing impairments can access multimedia content. 
  • Responsive Design: Ensuring that the website is responsive and works well on various devices, including smartphones and tablets, enhances accessibility for users with different assistive technologies. 
  • Readable Fonts: Choosing fonts that are easy to read and resizable supports individuals with visual impairments. 
  • Consistent Navigation: Creating a clear and consistent navigation structure helps all users find information more efficiently.
  • Accessibility Statement: Including an accessibility statement on the website provides transparency about the efforts made to improve accessibility and offers contact information for users with accessibility concerns or feedback. 

Using a combination of web accessibility testing and hands-on reviews by our Consultant team (all of which have disabilities) Direct Access can check your website for compatibility with WCAG 2.1 web standards, utilizing our lived experience of disability to identify all potential issues to users, ensuring that your website is both engaging and accommodating of disabled people.

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