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Principles, Procedures, & Best Practices For Website Accessibility
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Imagine visiting a website hoping to read some interesting articles, and it turns out that you cannot read the content because the letters are illegible or the language is unclear. Even if you understand the content, what if you cannot click on some buttons or fill out a form on the website, especially when others can, that will be frustrating, right?
Website accessibility ensures that everyone, with or without a disability, can use your website effectively, making it possible for users to interact with your site and increase traffic. That said, here are some of the principles, procedures, and best practices for website accessibility.
What Is Website Accessibility?
Web accessibility refers to how websites are made accessible to everyone, especially people with disabilities. It helps such people navigate through websites using tools like a screen reader.
Having an accessible website includes making provision for vision, hearing, cognitive, physical, speech, and neurological impairments. Through inclusive design, integrated technology, and software, your website becomes more accessible, giving room for interaction between users and generating traffic in the process.
Universal design refers to a website standard that blends accessibility standards with usable principles to improve a user’s ability to learn, communicate, and share information online. It acknowledges that users have distinct needs, and strives to eliminate barriers and improve accessibility for all users.
Things like using more contrast to make text readable, giving page elements accessible names, and including headings for navigation and menus are universal design examples.
Principles of Website Accessibility
You can improve your website’s accessibility by following the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).
These standard guidelines contain four principles you should target when designing your website.
This principle states that from the most basic level, users must be able to process information and be concerned with how they perceive your website.
Information presented in an unprocessed format is regarded as not perceivable. This includes providing text for hearing impairment and audio for those who cannot see.
Every user should be able to operate all the interface components and navigate through them with various tools. Users should be able to click on menus, select dropdowns, fill web forms, click on buttons, and scroll down a page using the mouse or a voice command.
Users must understand every piece of content on your website; screen readers should be able to read out texts correctly, websites should use clear language and avoid unnecessary technical jargon.
Concise language is essential and more efficient in comprehension. Users should be able to interpret your website’s interface’s basic contents and functions.
Robust focuses on the usability of your website across multiple devices, platforms, and browsers. Your website should function with any assistive technology a user can access.
Contents should be created to allow functionality with these devices and browsers for some time, even if updates are made in the future.
Best Practices for Website Accessibility
Standard practices to ensure your website accessibility includes:
Content readability is one of the major challenges faced by screen readers and impaired users. You must ensure improved legibility (letter clarity) and readability (text clarity) so that every user can read and understand your content.
You should provide shortcuts and logical keyboard navigation for users who find it challenging to use a mouse to move through your website. Search boxes and site maps should also have intuitive navigation to assist users in finding whatever they’re looking for.
You can include alt texts in the image metadata space to enable a screen reader read aloud to listeners. They should be concise and helpful in describing an image so that all users can access equal information with or without a visual impairment.
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Digital Transformation is being embraced by organizations of all sizes across most industries. In the Digital Age today, technology creates new opportunities and fundamentally transforms businesses in all aspects—operations, business models, strategies. It not only enables the business, but also drives its growth and can be a source of Competitive Advantage.
For many industries, COVID-19 has accelerated the timeline for Digital Transformation Programs by multiple years. Digital Transformation has become a necessity. Now, to survive in the Low Touch Economy—characterized by social distancing and a minimization of in-person activities—organizations must go digital. This includes offering digital solutions for both employees (e.g. Remote Work, Virtual Teams, Enterprise Cloud, etc.) and customers (e.g. E-commerce, Social Media, Mobile Apps, etc.).
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About Shane AvronShane Avron is a freelance writer, specializing in business, general management, enterprise software, and digital technologies. In addition to Flevy, Shane's articles have appeared in Huffington Post, Forbes Magazine, among other business journals.
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