If you build your complex website with responsive images, amazing content, good SEO, and mobile design, yet forget to include basic accessibility techniques, it may be frustrating and difficult to use, especially for people with disabilities.
According to World Bank statistics, about one billion people worldwide have some kind of disability. Moreover, Interactive Accessibility reports that about 54 percent of these people use the internet.
That's a large number of people you don't want to miss, and why accessibility in web design is more important than ever.
You might have a website that offers amazing and innovative functionality, but users will not give their attention without proper accessibility.
Making a website appear attractive is not enough. It's equally important that your design and style choices are easy to engage with on all devices.
Providing the mobile-first design with readable fonts and colors that increase the accessibility character go hand in hand.
Best Practices for Web Accessibility
There is a direct correlation between high levels of accessibility and attractive design. Use the following techniques to achieve website accessibility.
Web and User Friendly Fonts
Use common print and design best practices to avoid overwhelming your visitors, no matter how fun and unique you think it will be.
Common things to do and avoid are:
- Minimizing the use of red and green colored text to make everything readable for color blind people
- Use single or minimal font styles to keep all users from confusion. Don't mix up font styles, and avoid Comic Sans as if your business depended on it.
- Select the font size right according to your audience (the most commonly used text size for paragraphs is 12 to 14 points)
- Avoid using moving or blinking text or images.
Use Keywords to Describe Images
Use written text as much as possible and provide captions for audios, videos, and images. Remember: Google is blind, and it only sees what you tell it to see. Google and vision impaired visitors who use special software need to have written descriptions and keywords to know what your website and images are conveying.
The font of your website text plays a vital role in making your website more accessible. However, most people with disabilities use a screen reader that helps to decipher the website text. It will help even more users right from the starting point if you choose legible fonts.
Although the Rehabilitation Act Section 508 of 1973 has not specified any font style for accessibility, the US HHS (Health and Human Service Department) unofficially recommends the following font types for better readability on PDF files.
These fonts have no extra flourishes or decoration and are simple and straightforward. They also come pre-installed with almost every operating system. It’s important to note that the best font option to make your website accessible for most people is Sans Serif Aesthetic.
You should also consider including alternative texts to maximize people's legibility with visual impairments or dyslexia. Some of the recommended fonts are Lexie Readable, Read Regular, and Tiresias.
Colors also play a vital role in making or breaking any website in terms of accessibility. People with visual impairments may have difficulty differentiating between certain colors.
Many people don't perceive colors as others do. That's why it's critical to keep your website from such techniques that mainly use colors for content. For instance, if you are linking a blue-colored text, you should also underline the link text so people who can't differentiate between colors can perceive the links within the text.
Benefits of following the web design accessibility guideline regarding color:
- It becomes easier to read the text, especially for people with specific visual conditions such as worsening vision, color blindness, and low vision.
- The text on your website works in various lighting conditions like glare and sunlight.
Good Contrast Colors
All the colors that you use on your website must have enough contrast between background and text color. It includes the text written on buttons, icons, and also images. It's also important to use different colors on maps, diagrams, etc. that users can distinguish.
Color contrast that is easily readable benefits:
- Older people who commonly have low contrast sensitivity.
- People who are color blind.
You can use the tools that are available to check if your color contrast between background and text is sufficient or not. Ideally, it's important to select the right color combination while designing your website. If you already have a website, you can always change its color combination using any accessibility tools. You have to make sure that your selected color combination works for brightness sensitivity and people who need high contrast ratios.
Metadata for Text Readers
The metadata makes it easy to find and work with certain types of data. It also allows people to understand if the following data is useful to them or not. For that matter, making metadata accessible for text readers is critical.
The accessibility metadata helps text readers efficiently browse through the data catalog, thus improving user experience. If you have images on your website containing metadata, consider providing readable text. Not only must the text follow the contrast, color, and font guidelines, but the main points of metadata must be navigable as well.
It's also important to consider that different users have different accessibility needs. You can meet all of these needs by following the WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) 2.0. Only its level A works as a baseline that makes your website accessible for as many people as possible.
What Should You Test to Comply with Web Design Accessibility?
You can measure your website with the following principles in order to ensure its compliance with accessibility standards.
- Provide text alternatives everywhere on your website for all the non-text content.
- Create variations of the same content conveying the same meaning that you can present in various ways.
- Provide alternatives for your multimedia content such as captions.
- Use innovative approaches to make your content easier for the users to hear and see.
- Ideally, all the functionalities of your website should be available using a keyboard.
- Provide your users with sufficient time to read and utilize your web content.
- Avoid using any content that can cause a seizure.
- Help your users to navigate through your website efficiently to find the required content.
- All the text must be easily readable and comprehendible.
- The content that you provide must appear and function in the most predictable ways.
- Helps your website users to avoid as well as correct mistakes.
- Maximize your website compatibility with the existing and future user agents.
Want to Improve Your Website's Accessibility? Talk to August Ash Today
While you are planning to develop your website, keep accessibility on top of your mind. If you already have a website but it hasn’t been updated in five to ten years, then consider updating and changing it to deliver the best possible accessibility for users.
Want honest answers to the accessibility, performance, and strategic growth of your website? Contact one of August Ash’s strategic account managers today.