Making your website easy for everyone to use is more important than ever in 2024.

With many people having different needs, it’s crucial to design a website that everyone can access and enjoy.

This not only helps people with disabilities but also makes your site more user-friendly and accessible for all of your visitors.

In this guide, we’ll cover the simple steps to make your website accessible online and cover some of the main requirements from the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.

From making sure your text is easy to read to ensuring your site works well with different devices, we’ll help you create a website that everyone can use.

Whether you’re updating an old website or building a new one, these tips will help you make your website accessible to all users in 2024.

Web Accessibility Principles & Guidelines

When designing a website, there are important rules to follow to make sure everyone can use it easily. Here are some key principles and guidelines to help you create an accessible website:

Easy to See & Hear

Make sure everyone can see and hear the content on your website. This means using clear text and providing alternatives for visual and audio content.

Provide text descriptions for images so that screen readers can read them aloud. Offer transcripts for videos and audio files for those who are hard of hearing.

Use easy-to-read fonts and good colour contrasts to make your text stand out.

For example, black text on a white background is much easier to read than light grey text on a white background.

Simple to Navigate

Your website should be easy to move around. Make sure all buttons and links are clear and easy to understand.

Ensure that your website can be navigated using different tools, like a keyboard, mouse, touch screen or voice commands.

Avoid flashing content that might cause seizures. Also, give users enough time to read and interact with the content, especially on slideshows or carousels.

Clear & Understandable

Information on your website should be clear and simple. Use correct grammar and punctuation to avoid confusion.

Make sure your web pages do what users expect them to do.

For example, if a link says “Contact Us” it should take the user to a contact form or contact information page. This predictability helps users navigate your site without getting lost or frustrated.

Device & Technology Friendly

Your website should work well with different devices and technologies. This means making sure it is compatible with various assistive tools and screen sizes.

Use clean HTML code so that screen readers and other assistive technologies can interpret your site correctly.

Avoid relying too much on specific technologies, like virtual reality, that not everyone may have. Ensure your site looks and works well on both old and new devices, as some users may not have the latest gadgets.

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Web Accessibility Best Practices

Implementing the principles and guidelines of accessibility as described above will directly impact the web design process.

It is far easier to ensure maximum accessibility during the original design phase than to try fix a website that has already been designed with poor accessibility features.

Here are factors web designers need to consider from the start to ensure maximum accessibility:

Layout & Navigation

Visitors to your site want to be able to find what they’re looking for quickly and efficiently. If you waste their time and confuse them with illogical navigation and layout, they will simply leave.

This means that to ensure your site is accessible, its layout should be predictable and logical, with clearly marked buttons and links that take users to the page they expect it to.

While this might seem basic, you’d be surprised at how many professional websites get this wrong.

Colour & Contrast

The first thing web designers need to remember when choosing and pairing colours is that not all people perceive colour in the same way.

There are varying degrees of colour blindness or colour vision deficiency, which occurs on average in about one out of twelve men (about 8.3%) and one out of 200 women (about 0.5%).

Some forms of colour blindness make it harder to see reds and greens while others make it harder to distinguish between blues and yellows.

Therefore, it is crucial to use high-contrast colours that even those with visual impairments can easily distinguish, such as black text on white or yellow text on black.

Considering the above examples of colour vision deficiency, having green text on a red background, for example, might make it invisible to a portion of your audience.

Other poor colour combinations include yellow text on white, red text on black or green text on orange.

Alternative Text (Alt Text)

As mentioned earlier, not all website visitors can see perfectly so they often rely on screen readers to vocalise the text on a website.

As such, all your navigational buttons should include clear descriptions so that these users can navigate your website without issue.

Further, all images, videos and other visual content should be tagged with descriptive alt text.

Alt text provides context and information regarding visual components, helping blind users engage more fully with your content.

If that wasn’t enough, alt text also improves your website’s on-site SEO.

Keyboard Accessibility

Not everybody who accesses your website will have access to a mouse.

Therefore, ensuring that your entire website is seamlessly navigable via keyboard alone is important.

This requires careful consideration, right from the design phase, of different focus states and the order of tabs to ensure navigation is logical and straightforward.

Responsive Design

Responsive website design involves adapting your website to different devices and screen sizes.

This allows users to have a seamless user experience, no matter which device they choose to access your site with. This is one of the most critical aspects of ensuring accessibility.

It also pays to have your website accessible to devices that are perhaps older and using out-of-date software, since it’s a mistake to assume that all users will have access to the latest devices and software.

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The Benefits Of Website Accessibility

Web accessibility is not just about the noble goal of achieving inclusivity. It’s also about ensuring that your website and its content reach the maximum number of people in your target audience.

When your website fails to meet basic accessibility criteria, you risk losing significant chunks of your potential audience to competitors who have more accessible sites.

Reaching a Wider Audience

To give you an indication of how important this is, at least one in six people globally (about 16.6%) has a disability of some kind and up to two-thirds of their potential eCommerce transactions are abandoned because of website accessibility issues.

Making your website more accessible opens up your products and services to a wider range of users, including those with disabilities, older users and people with temporary impairments.

This can lead to increased traffic, higher conversion rates, a more diverse customer base and a boost in your company’s reputation.

Improving Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

Accessibility and SEO go hand in hand.

Many of the best practices mentioned earlier that are essential for creating accessible websites, such as using semantic HTML, providing alt text for images and ensuring clear and descriptive link text, dramatically improve your website’s visibility and bump you up the list on search engine results pages.

Prioritising accessibility makes your website more discoverable and appealing to search engines like Google, which can lead to increased organic traffic and better search engine rankings.

Demonstrating Social Responsibility

With increasing awareness of inclusivity and social consciousness, businesses that go out of their way to be socially responsible and demonstrate genuine concern for their customers enjoy a significant reputational boost.

Consumers increasingly expect businesses to demonstrate a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.

Creating an accessible website is one way of showing that you value all users and are dedicated to providing an inclusive and welcoming online experience.

This can improve your brand’s reputation, foster a sense of trust and loyalty among your target audience and set you apart from rivals who might not place as much emphasis on accessibility.

Final Thoughts

Making your website accessible is essential in 2024.

By following key principles and guidelines, you can create a site that everyone can use, regardless of their disabilities.

Not only does this help more people interact with your site, but it also enhances the user experience, boosts your reputation and can improve your search engine rankings.

Start implementing these web accessibility practices today to make your website inclusive and user-friendly for all.

Frequently Asked Question

What is web accessibility?

Web accessibility ensures that websites are usable by everyone, including people with disabilities.

This involves designing and developing sites so that all users can perceive, navigate and interact with the content.

Why is web accessibility important?

Web accessibility is important because it allows everyone, regardless of their abilities, to use your website.

It also improves the user experience, increases your audience reach and can enhance your SEO rankings.

How can I make my website easy to navigate?

To make your website easy to navigate, ensure that all buttons and links are clear and understandable.

Your site should be operable using different tools like keyboards, mice, touch screens and voice commands. Avoid confusing layouts and ensure the site has a logical flow.

What are some common accessibility features?

Common accessibility features include text descriptions for images, transcripts for audio and video files, easy-to-read fonts, good colour contrasts and keyboard navigation options.

Ensuring your website is responsive and works well on different devices is also important.

How does web accessibility benefit my business?

Web accessibility benefits your business by increasing your potential audience, improving user satisfaction, boosting your SEO and demonstrating social responsibility.

An accessible website can lead to higher traffic, better conversion rates and a more positive brand reputation.

To your success,