Skip to content

How to Improve Website Accessibility: A Comprehensive Guide

By: Guido

How to improve website accessibility

In today’s fast-paced digital landscape, website accessibility has assumed an unprecedented importance. The ongoing digital transformation has opened up a world of possibilities, enabling individuals to access critical information, services, products, and tools online–from ordering a pizza to participating in democratic processes. Nevertheless, amidst these remarkable advancements, lies a significant challenge for people with disabilities. 

Surprisingly, a staggering 90 per cent of public and commercial websites remain off-limits to those who rely on assistive technology for web navigation. The use of an Alt text checker, utilizing the tab key for navigation, and the proper implementation of HTML are vital aspects that can improve website accessibility. Adhering to accessibility guidelines and understanding how to make your website more inclusive are essential steps in this process.

The Landscape of Website Accessibility

Imagine a world where 15 per cent of the global population is excluded from the online environment that many of us consider routine. For those living with various disabilities, digital obstacles act like impenetrable walls. As the world’s population ages, and people face growing challenges in vision, motor functions, and hearing, this percentage is anticipated to increase sharply. This urgent issue emphasizes the rising demand for measures to make the online world more inclusive and user-friendly, ensuring a society that embraces all its members, rather than pushing those with different needs to the outskirts.

Smiling white haired senior man in winter sweater

The Social Imperative of Web Accessibility

At its core, web accessibility is a social issue that transcends technology. It is a cornerstone of inclusivity that underscores the principle that every individual, regardless of their abilities, has the right to engage fully in society. In a world where 15 per cent of the global population lives with disabilities, the need for inclusivity becomes evident. As populations age and face increased challenges related to vision, motor skills, and hearing, the urgency of prioritizing accessibility intensifies.

Unveiling the Economic Dividend

However, the importance of web accessibility extends beyond the realm of social justice. It’s not just a matter of principle; it’s a practical business strategy. Embracing website accessibility doesn’t just earn businesses goodwill; it also opens up vast economic opportunities. By crafting websites with accessibility in mind, brands can extend their reach to a broader audience, resulting in new customer acquisition and, consequently, increased revenue. Neglecting the disabled community means overlooking a substantial market with substantial purchasing power. A glaring example of this lost potential is the astonishing £11.75 billion losses incurred by UK online retailers due to accessibility-related issues.

Businessman looking stressed

Navigating the Legal Maze

The importance of web accessibility isn’t just ethically and socially significant–it’s also a legal mandate in many jurisdictions. In the United States, Canada, and the European Union, website accessibility is a legally protected right, compelling brands to ensure their digital content and websites are fully accessible. Failure to adhere to these accessibility standards can result in legal repercussions. The legal action against Beyoncé’s entertainment company, Parkwood Entertainment, serves as a poignant reminder that even high-profile entities are accountable for providing an inclusive online experience.

Insights That Speak Volumes

Statistics aren’t just numbers; they tell a powerful story about the impact of web accessibility. Research reveals that a substantial 71 per cent of disabled customers would abandon a website that proves difficult to use, while a staggering 82 per cent would increase their online spending if websites were more accessible. Moreover, an impressive 92 per cent of consumers express a preference for supporting businesses that prioritize both physical and digital accessibility.

Paving the Path to Accessibility: Practical Steps

Building an accessible website might seem daunting, but it’s within reach. Here is a checklist of ten actionable tips to allow users a more inclusive and user-friendly experience on your website:

1. Choosing the Right CMS 

When embarking on website development, opt for a content management system (CMS) that wholeheartedly supports web accessibility. Ensure that page layouts, themes, widgets, plugins, and all other elements align with accessibility standards such as WCAG 2.0.

2. Structure and Organize with Headers 

Headings aren’t merely design elements; they’re powerful tools for structuring and organizing content on your webpage. Proper utilization of headings not only improves the ease of moving through your content for all users but also enhances your SEO performance, driving more traffic to your site.

3. Alt Text for Enhanced Image Accessibility

Images play a vital role in conveying information, but they can also present obstacles for users with limited or impaired vision. Assigning descriptive alt tags to images provides a textual description, enabling users to comprehend images through screen readers. Additionally, alt tags contribute to improved SEO ranking on search engines.

4. Descriptive Link Titles for Intuitive Navigation

The links on your website are pathways to valuable information, and they need to be clear and descriptive. By using informative link titles, you assist users who rely on screen readers to understand where a link will take them and what they can expect.

5. Mastering the Art of Colors

Colors are a powerful design tool, aiding users in distinguishing between different content sections. However, colour blindness and other visual impairments can hinder this distinction. Proper colour contrast is essential to ensuring that all users can find information and engage with call-to-action buttons effectively.

6. Designing Forms 

When crafting online forms, providing descriptive titles on the web page is essential to clearly label text fields. This ensures that individuals who rely on screen readers can easily complete forms. Implementing label tags or utilizing ARIA (Accessible Rich Internet Applications) properties enhances the accessibility of your web forms.

7. Utilizing Tables Judiciously

While tables have their place in web design, they should primarily serve to display tabular data. Using tables for page layout purposes can lead to confusion for users who rely on screen readers, as the content might be presented in an order that doesn’t align with the visual layout. Consider CSS-based layout alternatives for a more accessible solution.

8. Keyboard Navigation: A Fundamental Requirement

An essential aspect of web accessibility is ensuring that individuals with mobility and vision challenges can navigate your website seamlessly. To accommodate users who rely on the tab key and other alternative devices like mouth sticks or single-switch controls, ensure your site can be efficiently traversed using keyboard commands.

9. Bridging the Gap with Dynamic Content

Videos and GIFs can enhance user engagement, but they can pose challenges for users with hearing or visual impairments. Including closed captions and providing text alternatives ensures that these users can also access your content. Additionally, incorporating ARIA properties informs screen readers about newly added or updated content without requiring a page refresh.

10. A Final Check with Accessibility Checker

Before your website goes live, it’s crucial to validate its accessibility through comprehensive testing. Utilizing an accessibility checker can be an essential tool in this step for uncovering any design flaws or bugs that might impede individuals with disabilities from accessing your website and its content. Regular accessibility testing is an ongoing commitment to ensuring an inclusive digital space.

Innovations That Illuminate the Path Ahead

Technology is ever evolving, and this holds true for assistive technologies as well. These technologies are shaping the online experience for individuals with disabilities, enhancing usability and interaction. Voice User Interfaces (VUI) are gaining prominence, revolutionizing the way users interact with websites. Furthermore, the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) is set to usher in auto-generated accessibility features, transforming the landscape of digital inclusivity.

Deep learning ai

Collaboration and Education for a More Inclusive Web

While developers and designers usually have the responsibility for an accessible website, it’s actually a team effort that involves different people working together. When developers, designers, and advocates work together, they can make a digital world that meets the needs of everyone. Additionally, providing training for web professionals is an essential step toward fostering inclusive design practices. Equipping developers and designers with the knowledge and skills required to implement accessibility features ensures that websites are not only visually appealing but also functional for all users.

Promoting Awareness and Advocacy

Advocacy and education play pivotal roles in driving home the significance of web accessibility. Raising awareness about the challenges faced by individuals with disabilities in the digital realm can spark conversations and inspire action. Collaborative initiatives, workshops, and seminars can empower individuals and businesses to take proactive steps toward creating a more accessible online landscape.

Seminar for employees

Crafting an Inclusive Digital Future

In conclusion, the concept of web accessibility, which encompasses principles of equity, dignity, and empowerment, goes beyond technology. For business owners and decision-makers, the need to put inclusivity first online is not just an option but a responsibility. As you set out to build a strong online presence, think of WP Expert as your trusted partner. We can help you craft a website that effortlessly combines visual charm with an improved user experience, all while making sure everyone has equal access.

Our team of committed experts excels at creating personalized WordPress websites that meet the most stringent criteria for an accessible website. If you’re interested in discussing a tailored WordPress site that not only reflects your brand’s core but also champions inclusiveness, don’t hesitate to contact us today. Together, let’s transform your website and the digital realm into a place where everyone is recognized, appreciated, and embraced.