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Best Practices for Building an Accessible Website

by Olufisayo
Building an Accessible Website

In today’s digital age, creating an accessible website is not just an option but a necessity. With the rise of internet usage and the increasing number of individuals with disabilities, it is crucial to design inclusive websites that meet accessibility standards.

AODA (Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act) Compliance is one such standard that outlines guidelines for website accessibility. By following these guidelines, you can make your website accessible to everyone, regardless of their abilities, and create an online presence that is both impressive and impactful. This article will discuss the best ways to design an accessible website while ensuring AODA Compliance.

Add Alt text to the images

Adding alt text (alternative text) to images is essential in designing an accessible website. Alt text is a short, descriptive text added to an image’s HTML code, which can be read by screen readers or other assistive technologies used by people with disabilities.

Here are some ways in which adding alt text to images can help make a website more accessible:

  1. Helps visually impaired users: Blind or visually impaired users rely on screen readers to access a website’s content. Adding descriptive alt text to images ensures that these users can understand the purpose and context of the image.
  2. Improves SEO: Search engines use alt text to understand the content of an image. Adding descriptive alt text to images can help improve the website’s search engine ranking and make it more discoverable to users.
  3. Provides context: Images can often convey important information that may not be immediately obvious to users who cannot see them. Adding alt text provides context and helps all users understand the purpose of the image.

Use labels, instructions, and tables

Labels, instructions, and tables can make a website more accessible for users with disabilities such as visual or cognitive impairments. Here’s how:

  1. Labels: Labels provide descriptive text for form fields, buttons, and other user interface components. Users who rely on screen readers or other assistive technologies can use labels to understand the purpose of these components. Users may need help navigating the website or completing tasks when labels are missing or unclear.
  2. Instructions: Clear and concise instructions can help users understand how to use a website or complete specific tasks.
  3. Tables: Tables can be used to present information in a structured format that is easier to understand for some users with visual impairments. Screen readers can use table headers and captions to help users navigate and understand the content.

Make readability for the site text easier

Making the readability of website text easier can help improve website accessibility in several ways. It helps in enhancing navigation and makes the approach comprehensive. Here are a few quick tricks to make the site readability easier:

  • Use simple language: Use simple, straightforward language that is easy to understand. Avoid using technical jargon or complex sentence structures that may confuse the reader.
  • Break up long paragraphs: Long paragraphs can be overwhelming and challenging to read. Break up your text into shorter sections that are easier to digest.
  • Use subheadings: Subheadings seek up the text and make it easier to navigate. They also provide a clear structure for the content, which can improve readability.
  • Use bullet points and lists: Bullet points and lists are a great way to present information clearly and concisely. They make it easier for readers to scan the text and quickly find the necessary information.
  • Choose an easy-to-read font: Choose a font that is easy to read, such as Arial or Helvetica. Avoid using fonts that are too small or difficult to read.
  • Use sufficient spacing: Make enough spacing between lines and paragraphs. This can improve readability and make the text easier on the eyes.
  • Use images: Images can help to break up the text and make it more visually appealing. They can also help to illustrate key points and concepts.

Use heading markups

Heading markups are a crucial aspect of creating an accessible website. Heading markups, such as H1, H2, H3, etc., provide a hierarchical structure to the content on a webpage. This structure helps users with assistive technologies, such as screen readers, navigate the content more easily.

Here are some ways that heading markups can make a website more accessible:

  1. Logical structure: Heading markups help in organizing the content in a logical structure. By using appropriate heading levels, users with visual impairments can understand the hierarchy of the content and navigate the page more quickly. It also helps users with cognitive disabilities to understand the relationship between the different sections of the page.
  2. Screen readers: Screen readers use the heading markups to provide users with a table of contents that they can use to navigate through the page. This way, users can jump to the section they want to read rather than the entire page.

In conclusion, designing an accessible website is a moral and legal obligation. A website accessible to everyone, regardless of their abilities, can enhance the user experience, increase your website’s visibility, and open your business to a broader audience. By putting accessibility at the forefront of your web design strategy, you can ensure that your website is not only compliant with accessibility standards but also provides a seamless experience for all visitors.

Photo by Le Buzz Studio on Unsplash

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