Best Practices for Website Accessibility

Prioritising accessibility has never been more important, ensuring all your website visitors, regardless of their abilities, can access and have a seamless experience on your website. Sadly, there are still quite a few websites that don’t comply with accessibility guidelines and best practices. Unfortunately, sites that don’t comply with these regulations make it almost impossible for those with disabilities to use them. At Sherbet Donkey, all our websites are created with accessibility guidelines and that is why we’ve broken down some of our best practices for website accessibility.

What is website accessibility?

Accessibility in the context of websites refers to the design and creation of web content that can be easily navigated and used by everyone, including individuals with disabilities. This involves ensuring that websites are usable by people of all abilities and disabilities, whether they relate to vision, hearing, motor skills or cognitive impairments. Successful accessibility allows for the adaptation of visual presentation, multimedia alternatives and ensures that interactive functions are accessible via keyboard commands for those who cannot use a mouse.

Why is web accessibility important?

According to WHO, one in six people have a disability, making it crucial for website designers and developers to acknowledge and keep this in mind when creating or adapting any website. If this is neglected, you are essentially eliminating a large group of users who may also be looking for your products or services. This inclusivity is not just a matter of ethical responsibility and social inclusion but also a legal requirement in many countries, however, this is only currently a requirement within the UK. Accessibility features often enhance the overall user experience and can improve SEO rankings, as accessible sites tend to be more navigable and comprehensible to both users and search engines.

What are some best practices for site accessibility?

We have broken down some best practices we think are crucial to accessibility success here at Sherbz.

Sufficient contrast

Contrast is the difference between colour and brightness between the text and its background. Ensuring there is sufficient contrast is crucial for readability, especially for those who have visual impairments like low vision or colour blindness. Having a high contrast between the text and the background can make it significantly easier to read for those who have these impairments.

Accessible keyboard functionality

Ensuring that keyboard functionalities are accessible is a fundamental aspect of web design that helps users with disabilities navigate and interact with websites effectively. This means enabling all interactive elements such as forms, links and buttons to be operated using keyboard commands alone, without requiring mouse clicks.

Semantic HTML

Semantic HTML uses elements according to their intended purpose and not just for presentation. This is vital for assistive technologies, as it’s all about structuring your website with elements that can describe their meaning within the document structure. Things like screen readers rely on this structure to navigate and interpret the content on the website.

Image alt text

Alt text offers a textual alternative to visual content, which is essential for users who are blind or have low vision and rely on screen readers to interpret web content. This descriptive text allows these users to understand images, which might otherwise be inaccessible to them. Alt text improves the usability of a website during instances where images fail to load due to slow connections or technical errors, ensuring that the context and intended message of the image are still conveyed.

Accessible forms

Ensuring that forms on websites are accessible is crucial for allowing users with disabilities to interact with the site, enter information and use services. Making form elements easy to navigate, comprehend and complete for everyone, including those who rely on screen readers or keyboard navigation, is essential for true accessibility.

accessible website design

Consistent design and navigation predictability

Building a website with uniform and intuitive navigation is essential for accessibility. This design strategy aids users, especially those with cognitive challenges, in rapidly mastering the navigation layout, which boosts their ability to efficiently find information and navigate the site.

Transcribe and caption audio and visual

Supplying captions for visual content and transcripts for audio content is vital for providing accessibility on websites. Captions provide a text version of spoken dialogue and important sound effects in videos, which is indispensable for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing. Transcriptions offer a full written account of audio content, including speeches, podcasts and video materials, making them accessible to those who prefer or need to read the content rather than listen to it.

Web accessibility tools you can utilise

There are some accessibility tools you can utilise when creating or adapting your website to be more accessible. Here are just a few you can take advantage of:

  • ACHECKS
  • SortSite Desktop
  • WAVE
  • Axe Accessibility Checker
  • Google Lighthouse
  • JAWS Inspect

We can help to create a more accessible website

Here at Sherbet Donkey, we pride ourselves on ensuring all the websites we create take into consideration all things accessibility, whilst not compromising on our client’s wants and needs. We can help you create a website that is accessible for those with disabilities, so you aren’t losing out on any audiences due to a lack of accessibility. To get started on an accessible website, give us a call on 0800 197 9803 email us at hello@sherbetdonkey.co.uk or alternatively, you can fill out our Contact Us form on our website.

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