Today, we’re diving into a topic that’s been on the rise in the digital landscape: web accessibility. Whether you’re a designer, developer, or just curious about creating a more inclusive web, understanding the significance of web accessibility should play an importance to you.
What is Web Accessibility exactly?
Web accessibility means making websites usable for everyone, regardless of their disabilities. It’s about ensuring that everyone has equal access to information and services online, with no obstacles or barriers.
The Impact of Web Accessibility
While web accessibility primarily targets people with certain disabilities, it can also help benefit many others. Often, maybe you included, you’ll find users like to scale their text up on their phone to make it easier to read — this is web accessibility. Talking to your phone to type out a text? That, too, is an accessibility feature that users with no disability use on a regular basis.
Additionally, by caring about web accessibility as a business or website owner, you are helping your online presence to be more inclusive, and therefore you might be able to expand your reach and cater to a broader audience.
Legal and Ethical Reasons
Web accessibility isn’t just a good practice; it’s often a legal requirement (see the ADA law). Beyond compliance, it’s a matter of ethics and social responsibility. Creating an inclusive web is a step towards a more equitable digital world — one we should ALL be working towards to achieve.
Examples of Barriers within Web Accessibility
Consider this: you’re vision impaired, you’re navigating a website with a keyboard, and come across an image without a description, making it meaningless to you as a screen reader user.
Every website should also be able to be navigable with only a keyboard — so those who use it, are able to use your site. If not, your website is completely unusable and meaningless as the individual can’t navigate.
These are just a couple of examples of common accessibility barriers that hinder user experiences — but there are so many more.
Quick Tips for Web Accessibility
Earlier this year, I took a course as an intro to web accessibility, and learned a LOT! There’s so much that goes into it, however there are a few quick tips to get you started on the path to understanding the basics of web accessibility:
- Use semantic HTML to structure content (H1, H2, H3, etc.)
- Provide descriptive alt text for images
- Ensure keyboard navigation works flawlessly
- Test colors for proper contrast
- Don’t use sliders or animation whenever possible
These are only the start, and to learn more in depth, you can also sign up for the web accessibility course here.
Start Curating a Web for ALL
Web accessibility shouldn’t just be a trend; it’s a fundamental aspect of creating an inclusive internet. The more you learn about web accessibility, the more you’ll understand that it’s not just good for those who need it, but it’s good design practice overall.
It’s important to note that implementing proper compliance into web accessibility does not mean you have to compromise creativity. Danielle Zacaro talked more about this at WordCamp US.
It’s an overwhelming topic, and a continuing education that I will forever be learning, but by caring, bringing it up as a concern to your designers or developers, and taking steps to help your website be more accessible, you’ll contribute to an inclusive web.
Thanks for reading,