Intro To Website Accessibility: Making Your Site Inclusive

A website accessibility icon of a person with their hands raised, next to a check mark and text that reads "Website Accessibility".

By Gareth Henry   |   Last Updated 24 May 2024

Web accessibility is about making sure everyone can use your website, including people with disabilities. This isn’t just about being fair; it’s also good for business.

By making your site accessible, you can reach more people and show that your business cares about inclusivity.

What Is Web Accessibility?

Web accessibility means designing websites so everyone can use them, no matter their abilities. This includes people who are blind, have low vision, are deaf, or have other disabilities.

It involves making sure your content can be understood, navigated, and interacted with by everyone.

Why Is Web Accessibility Important?

Web accessibility is important for a few reasons.

First, it’s the right thing to do. Everyone should have equal access to information and services online.

Second, it’s the law. Many countries, including Australia, have regulations that require websites to be accessible.

Finally, accessible websites are better for everyone. They’re easier to use, and they can improve your search engine rankings, which helps more people find your site.

Web Accessibility Standards

The main guidelines for web accessibility are called the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). These guidelines help you make your website perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust.

WCAG has different versions, with the latest at the time of writing being WCAG 2.2. These standards make sure that your website meets the needs of all users.

Common Accessibility Issues

There are several common barriers that can make a website inaccessible. These include:

  • Lack of alt text for images: This means screen readers can’t describe images to visually impaired users.
  • Inadequate keyboard navigation: Many people rely on keyboards rather than mice to navigate.
  • Poor colour contrast: This makes text hard to read for people with visual impairments.
  • Non-descriptive link text: Links like “click here” don’t tell users where they’re going.
  • Lack of captions or transcripts: Deaf users miss out on audio content without these.
  • Complex navigation: This can be confusing, especially for users with cognitive disabilities.

Here are some of our blog posts that show great website design:

Best Mobile Website Design Techniques With Examples
2024 Shopify Showcase: Top Store Examples & Website Success Stories
WordPress Blog Examples: 30 Most Beautiful and Popular WordPress Blogs in 2023

How To Create An Accessible Website

Creating an accessible website doesn’t have to be hard. Here are some simple steps:

  • Keyboard Navigation: Make sure all parts of your site can be accessed with a keyboard. This helps users who can’t use a mouse.
  • Visual Accessibility: Use high-contrast colours and clear fonts. Ensure that all information conveyed with colour is also available without it.
  • Text Alternatives: Add alt text to images and provide captions and transcripts for audio and video content.
  • Content Structure: Use proper HTML tags to organise your content. This helps screen readers navigate your site.
  • Time-based Media Alternatives: Provide captions and transcripts for videos and audio descriptions for important visual content.
  • Form Accessibility: Make sure forms have clear labels, logical tab order, and accessible error messages.

Testing For Accessibility

To ensure your website is accessible, you need to test it. Here are some ways to do that:

  • Online Tools: Use tools like WAVE to check for accessibility issues.
  • Manual Checks: Go through your site and check for common problems like missing alt text and poor colour contrast.
  • Professional Audits: If you can, hire an expert to audit your site for accessibility.

Legal And Compliance Considerations

In Australia, the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 requires websites to be accessible. This means you need to follow the WCAG guidelines.

Non-compliance can lead to legal issues, so it’s important to stay up-to-date with the latest standards and make sure your site meets them.

Benefits Of Web Accessibility

Making your website accessible has many benefits. It improves the user experience for everyone, not just people with disabilities.

It can also boost your search engine rankings, making it easier for people to find your site. Plus, it shows that your business values inclusivity and social responsibility.

Final Thoughts

Web accessibility is crucial for creating an inclusive online environment.

By following the guidelines and making your site accessible, you can reach more people and provide a better user experience for everyone.

Start incorporating accessibility from the beginning of your web development process to make your site truly inclusive.

Gareth Henry is the founder and Managing Director of AppSalon, a digital marketing agency in Sydney, Australia.

Gareth saw an important mission that needed doing in Australia - AppSalon's mission has been to provide world class, user centric design and SEO for websites, that assures small business success with client acquisition.

Gareth's marketing background is of an SEO specialist the last decade, with countless top 3 ranks for major commercial terms, such as skip bin hire, fish for sale, crystals for sale, and many more.

However, he realises not everything is SEO, and seeks mastery with website design, conversion optimisation, and content production, so a businesses brand and website can deliver beyond simply creating traffic.

This year has been a tremendous learning curve with AI and building web apps, and so now gen AI capabaility is part of the toolset Gareth delivers.

Gareth is considered an authority on creating websites and web apps that people adore, and is happy to provide insights to both established business owners and brand new hobbyists.


Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.