5 Steps To A More Accessible Website

June 9, 2016       The NonProfit Times      

The world is a big place. Nonprofit managers generally believe it’s their job to make it a better place. But sometimes they overlook groups of people who need their help.

People who have visual impairments, hearing impairments, difficulty using their hands, or limited language skills mightbe shut out from the content on your website. Fortunately, there are a handful of steps you can take to make your site more accessible to everyone.

Display better text. Avoid big blocks and think about ways to add scannable elements such as section summaries and subheaders. Also, make sure the text contrasts well with any background colors and is in a font size that’s easy to read.

Communicate image content in other ways. Did you know that even blind people can “see” the images on your website? They can, but only if you use “alt text,” a feature that allows you to add text that can be seen when users hover over the image with their cursor and can be read aloud by a screen reader.

Accommodate screen readers. A screen reader reads aloud from left to right and top to bottom so make sure your content makes sense if it’s read in that order. Also make sure links are accompanied by descriptive text. If you want someone to click a button, you need to help them understand what the button is and what will happen when they click it.

Consider visitors who are not using a mouse. Can someone reach every part of your site by only using a keyboard? What if your site has a web form? Will pressing the “tab” key take a user through the form in the right order? You can also help out by making sure common keyboard shortcuts are in place.

Stay in line with programming standards. It might be tempting to get fancy, but if you keep to standard HTML headers and don’t break browser defaults, your site will be navigable by people using screen readers and other aid devices.