Table of Contents
- What Is Web Accessibility?
- The Types of Disability
- Why Is Web Accessibility Important?
- Your Free Guide to Web Accessibility!
- Accessibility Standards
- The Four Principles of Accessibility
- The Components of Web Accessibility
- How to Create an Accessible Website
- Check Out Our Content Library
- Testing for Web Accessibility
- Just Remember…
- Make Your Website Better With Monsido
What Is Web Accessibility?
Web accessibility is the need for websites to utilize tools and technologies developed to aid the perception, understanding, contribution, navigation, and interaction of a disabled person on the site. Integrating accessibility can seem intimidating to those that are just getting acquainted with it, but it is a vital element of user experience. Accessibility should be built into the web development and design process, rather than trying to retrofit it as an afterthought.
The Types of Disability
Why Is Web Accessibility Important?
Of the world’s population live with a disability
Besides making the internet a more inclusive place for everyone, a good accessibility strategy also has business benefits. Accessibility is a component of design and development that touches on almost every element of the website’s creation. It overlaps the aspects of mobile-friendly designs, device independence, multi-modal interaction, usability, search engine optimization (SEO) and more. Accessible websites can have better search results, reduced maintenance costs, increased audience reach, and demonstrate corporate social responsibility (CSR). Therefore, having a well-designed, accessible website doesn’t just make your website available to those with disabilities, but it can also significantly improve the user experience for all users of your site.
Read more about the importance of improving web accessibility.
Your Free Guide to Web Accessibility!
The WCAG forms the basis of most legislation on accessibility across the world. Legislation like the Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), etc adopt the WCAG at level AA as the minimum standard of conformance. Some countries have indirect references to the WCAG. The European Standard EN 301 549 for the EU Web Accessibility Directive for example, does not explicitly state its adoption of the WCAG but includes all the requirements from the guidelines.
WCAG’s success criteria are categorized into three levels of conformance, Level A, AA, and AAA.
The Four Principles of Accessibility
- Perceivable - Perceivability refers to the information and elements of user interface that must be presented in a manner that can be perceived by the senses and that nothing is left undetectable or invisible. To most web users, perceivability is based primarily on visuals, but for those that are unable to, sound and touch are used instead.
- Operable - Interactive interface elements such as controls, buttons, navigation and more should be operable. This means that a user must be able to operate interface elements by first identifying them, and for most by physically clicking, tapping, swiping, or rolling. For those that can’t interact in these ways, voice commands or the use of other assistive devices like head wands and eye trackers.
- Understandable - This means that technology should be clear and consistent in the presentation and format, with predictable patterns of usage and design. End users should have no issue in comprehending the meaning and purpose of the information presented in the content while discerning the user flow and operation of the interface.
- Robust - Robustness is the ability for content to function reliably by a wide variety of technologies, including assistive devices.
The Components of Web Accessibility
How to Create an Accessible Website
The following principles that describe accessibility solutions are developed and benchmarked by the W3C Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI), in conformance to WCAG standards.
- Use text alternatives to convey the context and purpose of visual content. Text alternatives render the information of visual content into electronic text that can be presented in a form that best fits the requirements of the user. Examples of which include read-aloud recordings of text, enlargement of text sizes, or the option of text to be read on braille devices.
- Multimedia, while providing users with a richer and more diversified experience on the web, can be limiting to those with audio or visual impairments. Providing text transcripts and captions for audio content, such as recordings of a radio interview; or adding a sign language interpretation of audio content can help overcome these limiting factors.
- Content should be presented in different formats and users should be able to change the presentation of content. Examples of multiple content presentations include allowing options for content to be read aloud, displaying content in custom color combinations, using correct color contrasts, or creating mobile-friendly content.
- Content perception and comprehension are not made equal. Some users may need more time to read instructions, type, or complete tasks on a website. Care should be taken to adjust time-sensitive elements on a website and to use dynamic content that does not interrupt, pause, blink or scroll. Content that is animated and that that flashes at certain rates can also be harmful to those with photosensitive disorders. Such content should be avoided or a warning of the nature of the content should be presented beforehand.
- Navigation is an essential element of user experience and creating a site with well-organized content can provide users with disabilities an equal opportunity to experience the website fully based on their needs. Some important aspects to consider regarding accessible navigation is to understand how users interact with site structures such as hierarchical menus, search boxes, site maps.
- Text content should be readable and understandable in all the formats it is presented in. The level of comprehension of the text should be presented to cater to the broadest audience possible so that it is inclusive to those with learning disabilities and cognitive limitations. Providing measures to ensure that users are helped to avoid, and correct mistakes are also essential. This can help people who do not see or hear the content or may not recognize implicit relationships, sequences, and other cues on web elements such as forms.
- Ensure that the content on your site follows a predictable and consistent pattern and interface. A consistent design can help users learn to navigate the site quickly and follow predictable patterns to achieve certain goals on a site.
- Demonstrate your commitment to your web accessibility efforts to your customers and stakeholders by including an accessibility statement on your site. An accessibility statement should include the accessibility guidelines and standards your website will be following including the intended level of accessibility, contact information in the event that visitors find issues with the accessibility of the site, and an acknowledgement of any exceptions to the standards based on limitations of the site. You can use an accessibility statement generator to quickly create a complete and compliant statement.