The internet is open to all, and it is essential to ensure equal participation by everyone regardless of their physical and mental abilities to use the web. This has led to framing laws to ensure that the web remains accessible to one and all that gives equal opportunities for interacting and contributing to the web.
Equal access to information and accessibility for all people, as well as search spiders, is the spirit that drives the web. Website owners must remain true to the spirit by ensuring complete accessibility to websites for all. The onus of removing all barriers in accessing websites rests on website owners. They must ensure that persons with disabilities can have full access to sites just in the way as any other person. Web accessibility is so important that several countries of the European Union, Canada, USA, and Australia have laws and policiesto that effect. Not only is accessibility the right thing to do, but more importantly, it is a legal requirement. Non-compliance can lead to fines and penalties as well as lawsuits related to web accessibility.
To ensure that your website is accessible to all, you can use some tool like accessibility checkers. To know more about it, log on to https://siteimprove.com/en-us/accessibility/website-accessibility-checker/.
Who benefits from web accessibility?
People who are visually impaired, whether completely blind or suffer from low vision and color blindness can overcome their limitations of viewing websites with the necessary assistance provided to them. Similarly, people who are hearing impaired and those who suffer motor/mobility difficulties that make it difficult for them to use their hands benefit from the measures taken to ensure web accessibility so that they can enjoy websites in the same way as any average person. Even people who suffer from developmental disabilities and learning difficulties or any other type of cognitive impairment receive adequate assistance in accessing and interacting across websites.
Ensuring equal opportunities
When all kinds of people, including those with disabilities have complete access to the web, it allows them to make the best use of the valuable resource that controls many aspects of our lives and provides opportunities for betterment. From education to employment and healthcare, commerce, government, recreation, and many other areas of our lives, we are heavily dependent on the internet. Good accessibility ensures participation of all kinds of people, including those with disabilities who get equal opportunities in exploring the web. People with disabilities can participate actively in society by accessing the web without any hindrance.
Increased businesses reach
Inability to reach out to people with disabilities is detrimental for businesses because they lose out on a large section of buyers. By ensuring accessibility for all, businesses can expand their outreach and ensure growth by treating people with disabilities in the same way as other regular customers. People who are unable to visit stores and malls can buy goods online. That is why ensuring web accessibility is now a part of the best practices in online marketing that includes mobile accessibility, usability, web design, and search engine optimization.
How to ensure accessibility
Giving easy access to information allows interaction among people, including those with disabilities. Website owners must take adequate steps by using technology to remove barriers to accessing print, audio, and visual media. This would ensure that people with disabilities get the same opportunities as average persons in using the web. How much they benefit from it depends on individual capabilities.
Web accessibility depends on incorporating specific design features into websites. It enhances the functionalities, which is why it is within the scope of web developers to make websites easily accessible for disabled persons. How they do, it is what you can learn about from this article.
Using ALT tags
Images can be quite baffling for people with visual difficulties as they are unable to understand the information conveyed by the image. In such instances, the photos should have some text alternatives so that users who are unable to extract the information from images get an alternative method to understand it. This should make it easy for screen reader users to understand what the images mean entirely. The text narration accompanying images are the ALT tags that describe images. Giving a helpful description of images to readers by imagining how you would perceive the image had you been blind is part of the accessibility measure that you should take.
Add captions to your tables
Having titles for tables is a must. To make tables easily understood by disabled persons, you must go a step ahead and add captions to it. It is just not enough to enable screen readers to read the captions clearly because to understand what the table cells imply it is essential to capture the context. To achieve the goal, you must add the ‘scope’ element and ensure correct labeling of new rows and columns that point to the context.
Keyboard navigation should be the staple means of communicating with computers, and any feature that you use on the website must be activated by using the keyboard only. This is fundamental in ensuring accessibility, and you must not tinker with it. Leaving navigation buttons intact will ensure that screen readers can aptly comprehend its function.
Closed captions for media
Just as images must have descriptions, the audio and video elements of your website should also have captions. The norm for ensuring accessibility is to use closed captions. It is not only helpful for the disabled but also useful in situations that do not allow playing audio or video. Providing captions on media files is beneficial for all users in the same way. Audios and videos become self-revealing without the need of playing it as the captions would tell all about the content.
Having title tags for pages might seem too much elementary, but it is vital to ensure that every page has title tags. They are helpful for screen readers and all others to understand what the page is all about.