Though you might not encounter disabled people regularly during your day, they are everywhere. According to the World Health Organization, 30 percent of the world’s population currently lives with a disability of some sort and almost 20 percent or 1.3 billion people overall are affected by some form of blindness or visual impairment, which includes everything from low vision, to partial sight to a wide range of color blindness.
Despite their visual impairments, many people are still able to use websites, thanks to the American with Disabilities Act of 1990. Web accessibility has made a major difference in their lives and in the lives of website developers and designers.
We looked at the specific challenges of web accessibility compliance and presented some easy wins at a recent ADA-focused lunch and learn here at Trivera. Of course, website owners want their quality content to be available to all, but it makes even more sense business wise for a site to be ADA compliant. That’s because compliant sites are good for SEO.
Google says it looks at more than 200 factors when ranking sites to determine how it will surface them to users during search. Being ADA compliant affects what the user sees and experiences, obviously, but also what they don’t. That is, compliance happens under the hood, in the coding, in the meta data writing and in content hierarchy designations. Google reads this too and uses it when ranking sites.
5 Easy Wins
Use semantic HTML markup. Make sure your developer writes your site using semantic markup so that screen readers can easily announce what’s happening on the page.
Use alt attributes under image tags. Of all the attributes developers use, this is one of the most important. All it needs to say is, “This is your image.” In general, the use of alt text whenever possible is imperative because Google reads it, which means it’s important for SEO. Use alt text to name the image and describe it as precisely as possible in about 125 characters. Use keywords if you can.
Give the user control. Employ tab navigation so users can easily move down your page; don’t allow pop-up windows or auto play videos that users are unable to stop.
Add Aria labels. For sighted users, the context and visual appearance of an element, such as a call-to- action button, provides an adequate and intuitive cue of what to do. But if you can’t see the button, an aria label is needed to apply an invisible label only accessibility software can see and read aloud.
Run audits on your code. There are several ways to test your site for ADA compliance. If you need some help with this, we’re happy to test your site and explain the findings. Bringing your website into compliance will benefit SEO, user experience and conversions--your bottom line.
Photo Credit: Adobe Stock
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