Before we discuss about web accessibility, we should first understand what the word ‘Web-Accessibility means.
In simple terms, Web accessibility means people with disabilities can use the Web like everyone else.
Or in simple words, people with disabilities can perceive, understand, navigate, and interact with the Web easily.
. Web accessibility also help those with temporary or conditional disabilities which in some cases maybe old people, those who have slow internet connection, broken arm etc.
To learn more about this we need to elaborate on types of disabilities.
What is Disability and its Types?
Disability simply means a situation or disorder that hold back you from doing something you could easily do if you are not in that state.
There are three Categories of Disability:
- Permanent Disability: In this condition you are completely disabled. Like: blind, deaf and so.
- Temporary Disability: In this condition a person is not able to perform his responsibilities due to physical or mental disability for a short period of time.
- Conditional or Situation Disability: In this condition when you are not able to do things due to your current situation. For example slow internet connection.
Why Web Accessibility is Important
Internet and web play a dynamic role in our daily lives now days.
An increasingly important resource in many aspects of our life which includes: education, employment, government, commerce, health care, recreation, and more. That’s why it is important to have accessible Website for everyone in order to provide equal opportunity to access the same information to disable people An accessible Website can assist people with disabilities participate more enthusiastically in society.
Also an accessible website is one of the easiest ways to increase your business. As most of the disable people who have difficulty going to a physical store or mall, they like giving order online, but think if your website is not on web accessibility standards, then you are going to lose large number of visitors on your website.
Moreover, what you do for accessibility overlaps with other best practices such as mobile Web design, usability, and search engine optimization (SEO)
One more important consideration for organizations is that Web accessibility is compulsory by laws and policies in some cases.
How to Make Web Accessible
If you make your website accessible to people with disabilities, you are naturally making it accessible to everyone.
Web Developers / Designers should consider:
- Using of Alt-Attribute:
The alt-attribute or alternative (alt) html attribute is mainly used to describe an image.
Blind people use “screen reader “For exploring any website. But without using “alt attribute” on any image, the screen reader is not able to give any information whenever their focus is on any graphic.
- Keyboard Navigation:
There are many disabilities in which people are not able to use mouse easily. Therefore, web developers ensure all the keyboard functionality is possible without using of mouse easily.
- Use Default HTML Tags
For making your website accessible, don’t mess with the default html tags. It’s a very dumb approach when you use anchors for buttons.
Use buttons for buttons only
Use anchors for links, “table, tbody, td, th” for tables, “h1, h2, h3, …” for titles and so on.
Messing up with them will make it difficult for screen reader users entirely because all screen readers follows a particular way to read the elements on a web page.
- Closed Captions for Media:
All the videos or audio files on your website should have captions. Closed captions are very handy not for the deaf people only, but also for users who may be using your website somewhere where they can’t play audio, such as in an office or in a noisy location.
You may also add a text transcript for podcasts or other audio elements. The text transcript will not only help deaf and deaf-blind people to understand the audio but it will make it easier for Google and other search engines to index the content and help your Google ranking.
- Use the ARIA Tag:
According to MDN,
“Accessible Rich Internet Applications (ARIA) is a simple set of HTML attributes that define ways to make Web content and Web applications (especially those
ARIA has a special accessibility HTML attributes which can be added to any markup, but is especially suitable for HTML. The role attribute explains a specific role for type of object (like an article, alert, slider or a button). Other ARIA attributes offer additional useful properties, like a description for a form or the current width of a progress_bar. ARIA attributes can also be used to specify active or disabled state for objects (especially
- Always Use the Title Tag:
HTML title tag on the webpage body is helpful for screen readers and tabs title. So make sure each of your website’s pages has a meaningful but short title that
Tells visitors what the page is all about.
What happens if your website is not accessible?
Obviously, you leave yourself open to criticism, bad press and more seriously legal action if your site is not accessible for disable people.
They can make a claim against you if your website makes it unreasonably hard to access information and services. If you have not made suitable modifications and cannot show that this failure is justified, then you may have to pay compensation and be ordered by a court to change your site entirely.
A web designers/developer should understand how to make your website more accessible to all your website visitors.
Obviously, the best way to get the accessibility of your site evaluated is by getting a web accessibility expert to test the accessibility and usability of your site,