Designing websites with accessibility in mind not only benefits users with disabilities but also makes for better websites for everyone. InclusionNL, a website that promotes inclusive workplaces, features several online resources. One of the resources it provides is a guideline on how to make websites accessible for all users.
The guideline is based on the standards set by WCAG, which is an internally accepted standard for web accessibility, set by the World Wide Web Consortium. The guideline focuses on a few areas: writing web content in clear language, providing alternate text for images, and making sure the website can be navigated using keyboard alone.
The guidelines set out four steps to take toward website accessibility: 1) assess your website and web content, 2) make it accessible, 3) test your new or refreshed site, and 4) keep it accessible.
Assessment for accessibility concerns can be done using automatic assessments or simply by following a list of aspects to check. You can also use technology like a screen reader to make sure that people using those technologies won’t face any difficulties using your site.
Making your site accessible may involve simple fixes as well as more complex ones. Web accessibility involves steps such as providing captions and text alternatives for images and multimedia, using strong contrast between text and background, creating content that can be presented using assistive technologies without losing meaning, using structured content and making it keyboard accessible, and so on.
As with assessment, testing after implementing changes can be done automatically but it is also helpful to have users test and provide feedback. Of course, maintenance of the accessible website is also important.
To learn more about making your website accessible, read the InclusionNL guidelines here.