How Are Donors Reading Your Messages?

June 26, 2017       THE NONPROFIT TIMES      

You might be reading this on a desktop, laptop, phone, or mobile device. Your potential supporters are likely similarly diverse in how they visit your organization’s website, making accessibility of increasing importance.

    During their session, “Your Website Can be More Accessible: Simple Ways to Evaluate and Improve Your Site’s Accessibility” at the 2017 Nonprofit Technology Conference in Washington, D.C., Rose Liebman and Dave Hansen-Lange, vice president of accounts and technical manager, web development, respectively, for Advomatic; Mike Gifford, founder of OpenConcept Consulting; and Marco Carbone, associate director of IT for internet technology at the American Civil Liberties Union discussed step-by-step improvements organization professionals can make whether they are a web novice or more advanced. Recommendations discussed at the session included:

  • For beginners, start off by looking for errors on your website every day for a week and then do so at least monthly from then on, starting with the site’s most popular pages. Try tabbing through the site without use of a mouse to see if there are pieces of the page that cannot be accessed or places where you get stuck;
  • On the intermediate side, consider setting up an accessibility page. An accessibility page, ideally, describes what has been done to make a website accessible, a policy stating accessibility goals, and a form encouraging individuals to report accessibility errors. Involve individuals with disabilities and look over your site with them. Individuals with disabilities often overcome additional obstacles in navigating through a website;
  • Personalization is the frontier for the advanced. Web Content Accessibility Guidelines are a good resource. The BBC’s My Web My Way is another guide-point for ways to help those with dyslexia or poor vision have a positive experience on a website; and,
  • Understand that accessibility is not an all-or-nothing exercise. Try to find easy wins where available as a little accessibility is better than no accessibility. Develop modest short-term plans along with longer-term plans and document achievements. Remember to not expect perfection, seek out feedback, and assess and prioritize goals.