A recent study showed that people are currently spending an average of over six hours online every day. Some are spending even more time online than that between work and other extracurricular activities that are now virtual due to COVID.
Many people take for granted how easy it is to access nearly any website in the world without any trouble. For people with diversabilities (diverse abilities), it is not always this simple to navigate to a website and access information. In fact, many websites do not take people with diversabilities into consideration.
If your agency or company website is not accessible for people who are blind, Deaf, or experience different cognitive functioning, there are a few things you can do to improve it!
1. Make Your Website Keyboard-Friendly
Screen readers and other assistive devices often rely on keyboard navigation rather than the use of a mouse. Making your website easy to navigate using the keyboard is critical for people who are using this kind of technology.
2. Add Relevant Alt Text to All Images
Alternative (alt) text can easily be added to any images on your website. Often, people in the search engine optimization (SEO) field use alt text to add keywords to the site to help it rank better. While this helps to a point, it is more important for the alt text to be descriptive of the image.
Screen readers utilize alt text to read off what the image on the page is. When the text is rich in detail, it can help people with vision impairments better visualize the page.
3. Add Large Text Options That Will Not Break Your Site
When you add anything that changes the way your site functions, it can break the site or make it difficult to work with. Adding the option to change to larger text is important, but you want to make sure that you do so in a way that does not compromise website functionality.
Consider adding a couple different options for text size so people can choose what will work best for them.
4. Consider Contrast When Choosing Your Color Scheme
While full color blindness is very rare, partial color blindness is common. Additionally, any type of visual impairment can make it difficult to see colors that are too similar when they are next to each other. Using opposite colors on the color wheel or just simple black text on a white background can make it easier to access content on your site.
5. Make Your Media Accessible
If you have videos or other multimedia on your website, it needs to be in a couple of different formats. Add captions or subtitles to any video. If the video has captions but no voiceover, consider using a pre-recorded voice to read the captions out loud.
6. Write on a Sixth- to Eighth-Grade Level
The average reading level in the United States is around a seventh-grade comprehension. Staying in the sixth- to eighth-grade range ensures that a variety of people will be able to read your content and access the information.
Using readability tools can help you better understand how to write at this level. Generally, though, you want to keep your sentences short, simple, and straightforward.