Are you blocking potential visitors?
When a website meets these standards, it can benefit all users by providing better accessibility to those with disabilities.
Are you blocking potential visitors?
Website Accessibility & ADA Compliance
Inaccessible. Restricted. Limited. Useless.
These are words no one wants associated with their website—and they are antonyms for accessible. It’s a word that gets thrown around a lot these days, but what does it mean for websites?
Web accessibility is the design and creation of websites that can be used by everyone.
This is necessary to allow assistive technology, such as a text reader, interpret web pages. Without web accessibility, a website will restrict access to those who cannot use it. It’s like putting up a roadblock and only allowing those without disabilities through.
For an increasing number of online users, this makes the website useless.
The World Health Organizations estimates that 1 in 5 people worldwide have a disability, and more than 59% of disabled Americans have internet access at home. This means there are a lot of people online, right this second, attempting to access various web pages around the globe. Unfortunately for many, there is limited access.
Making a website accessible is about more than ADA Compliance*—it’s the right thing to do. It benefits far more than those with a disability, too! (How many times have you used video captions because you needed to watch quietly? Or asked Alexa to play music?)
Fortunately, there are some easy ways to make a website more accessible right away:
add ALT text to any images
add captions to video content
provide keyboard-friendly site navigation
These address the most basic concerns for those with visual, auditory, or physical disabilities. This is Level 1. But if you want your website to welcome more visitors—and this means more customers—you need to do more.
Test your current website for accessibility. Here few places to take a look at, many of them free:
Get into the code. (Or use a tool that will do it for you.)
Aardonyx uses Google Lighthouse, GitHub, and Gatsby when developing or improving websites for our customers.
Lighthouse is an open-source, automated tool that can help improve the entire site. A web developer (or you, if you’re tech savvy) can run it against any web page to check for accessibility—as well as SEO, performance, and more.
Gatsby is an open-source static site generator. It helps developers build fast, secure, powerful websites that can integrate different content, APIs, and services. Gatsby has built-in accessibility support, like accessible routing (keyboard navigation) and a plug-in that checks for accessibility errors.
GitHub is an internet hosting service for software development—it hosts open source software development projects. This is where web developers go to find and share code for various projects. It’s a great resource for finding ways to improve the function and accessibility of a website. Warning: it’s a coder’s paradise.
Rinse & Repeat
Websites evolve. We add content, attach pdfs and forms, and rewrite the copy. Each time a change is made, it needs to be tested for accessibility. It does not help to build a website that slowly closes the door on disabled users.
The point of web accessibility is to allow online access to more users—to bring more visitors to your site—and to make your content easier for them to obtain or use. This requires more planning in the design phase of a website’s development and more work for anyone managing it, but it’s a crucial one.
Remember, accessibility tools help everyone—and they’re constantly evolving! We’ve yet to see anything that would help a dinosaur navigate a website, but it could happen.
*The regulations governing ADA web compliance are for U.S.-based sites, but many countries around the world have a similar guideline, so please check here for the one for your country.
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