For companies that do business online, or any company really, accessibility is a important factor to consider.
So what is accessibility?
Accessibility is about creating an environment that is user friendly. On a website design, this means that all content can be read, all visuals can be seen, and all media can be viewed.
Meeting Accessibility Standards on your Website
In an ideal world, the web should open up more possibilities for individuals with disabilities. However if business owners don’t take that into account when building their website, there will be many barriers for entry. Thus if your business’s site isn’t optimised to meet basic accessibility standards, it is time to do so.
A) It will increase your audience reach since it will become universally accessible.
B) It’ll demonstrate your business’s dedication to social responsibility as you create a website that provides equal opportunity to all users.
C) Cleaner interfaces and simpler navigation to improve brand reputation and customer loyalty.
D) Improved SEO. With greater accessibility for all users, your site will have lower bounce rates, higher numbers of conversions and more positive responses which all contribute to search engines ranking a site.
Here are 12 tips to optimise your site for accessibility and give it a conversion boost:
- Responsive Design
Due to technological advancements, websites need to be compatible with desktop and mobile viewing. With more people surfing the web on their mobile devices, it is a no-brainer to make sure that your website is mobile-friendly.
Most website themes or designs are built to be compatible with desktop and mobile devices. Even so, addressing responsive design is important to remind everyone that websites must be responsive in design for improved accessibility.
- Interaction Methods
Consider the visitors who are unable to use a mouse, keyboard, or their fingers when interacting with your website.
In order to cut down on the inconvenience of users having to rely on solely physical interactions with your site, optimise your site by including text-to-speech options.
- Text Resizing
Some visitors may have the inability to see text if presented at a very small size. However, don’t be influenced to change it to oversized text.
Instead, add a text resizing tool so that visitors can select how large they want the text on their screen to display.
Also, make sure that mobile users are able to zoom in on your website.
- Alternative Text
For users that have a difficult time seeing images on your website, the alt text and caption fields are vital to use. This way, they won’t need to see an image in order to understand what sort of visual content you have partnered with your content.
Enter a lengthy description about each image in the alt text and caption fields.
For users that have a hard time hearing, or experience some other difficulty with viewing media, providing captions and transcripts are a must.
- Simplified Messaging
The simpler the language, the better. With shrinking attention spans, it is not ideal for users to read essays of text. Also, limit the use of industry specific jargon or colloquialisms when writing for the web.
- Text Organisation
Remember to use large and clear titles on top of every page which helps in the readability of the page as well as navigation.
Within the body of text on each page, use header titles, section breaks and lots of white space.
- Text Colour
Generally, colour is a difficult aspect to optimise for all users because of the psychological and emotional implications behind it, and people’s ability to see it.
For example, if you want to include red text, it might be troublesome for users who are colour blind.
A tip in this area is to use a colour blindness website checking tool to ensure that all colours you use will work for all users.
- Directional Cues
For users with cognitive impairments or who aren’t technologically savvy, it is important to have directional cues available to help them along.
Tooltips are one of the tools that can come in handy if a user gets stuck.
Another directional cue is using call to actions that actually looks like a clickable button.
- Clear Navigation
A consistent and clear navigation is helpful for everyone who visits your site.
If your navigation is easy to find and always accessible, more people will visit and stay on your site.
- Internal Search
Using a search bar comes in handy for users who want to search something specific on your site.
- Form Directions
Contact forms are essential for any business’s website. These can include newsletter signups, purchases and support requests.
This will assist those who require additional support online instead of via phone calls which are losing their viability.