Provided by Base Note Labs
Is your website accessible to people with disabilities? More than the general benefit of reaching a larger audience, and the less well-known benefits for search engine optimization (SEO). Making your website accessible to everyone is also the ethical thing to do, and U.S. courts have recently agreed.
Following a landmark court case in 2016 (Gil v. Winn-Dixie Stores) in which the grocery chain was ordered to update its website to be accessible to visitors with disabilities, “a lack of standards [has been] blamed for the flurry of website accessibility lawsuits (2,258 in 2018, up from 814 in 2017)”. And yet there are still no government guidelines for accessibility online, leaving judges to determine case-by-case what requirements are reasonable.
“At this time, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) is the go-to resource covering every conceivable aspect of accessibility for those willing to confront a complex, but manageable, set of voluntary guidelines.” Though the WCAG is helpful and is the best guide available, here are a few tips to make your website more accessible.
- Alt-tags for images
- Alt-tags for menus and buttons
- Utilize button animation
- Captions for videos
Alt-tags are descriptions created for images, buttons, and menus to describe what they are. This is the text a screen-reader needs to be able to read. For images, these alt-tags should describe the picture itself, and for menus and buttons, alt-tags should label what they do or where they go. Animation of buttons and other elements can also be used effectively to show what elements are intractable. Closed-captions for video content need to be added manually. There are a few software solutions to automatically add captions to videos, but they still require some editing. The following tips are for testing your website further for accessibility, specifically for varied visual impairments.
Website Accessibility Testing
- Browse website image free
- Check with color-blindness filters
- Use visual impairment simulator
Accessibility matters, and not just to avoid legal liability. Addressing accessibility also has a competitive advantage, adding alt-tags and captions give more relevant words for Google and other search engines to read, thereby improving your SEO. Being accessible to a wider market benefits both the consumer and the business and, just like physical businesses, websites need to provide access to people with disabilities and impairments. When a business is accessible, it’s a demonstration that they care about all of their customers.
Blog written by David Hendrix of Base Note Labs, a website development and marketing agency, serving nonprofits and the small business community. Our custom website solutions and E-Commerce platforms can elevate your brand among the competition. Landing and Sales pages are designed with a purpose, to funnel traffic to your products, services, or cause. We design with your visitor, client, and customer in mind, creating a website that works for you.
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