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Best Practices for Optimizing Website Accessibility

Whether a web developer or an e-commerce website, you want your web pages to be visited by as many people as possible. This can be hard if you don’t prioritize website accessibility.

So, what is website accessibility?

Website accessibility ensures that websites are accessible to persons with disabilities. Accessibility also allows abled and neurotypical users to engage with websites more comfortably.

We will go through 5 of the most frequent strategies for improving website accessibility.

Why You Should Be Concerned With Web Accessibility

There are several reasons developers, designers, and their employers/clients should make accessibility an early and fundamental component of web development.

  • Many countries make it illegal to discriminate against persons with disabilities. In the United States alone, 2,235 new ADA Website cases were filed in federal court in 2019. That equates to one each hour.
  • Accessible websites are more likely to boost revenue as 82% said they would regularly return and spend more money with a business that delivers a user-friendly online experience.
  • Inaccessible sites are terrible for business. According to a 2019 UK poll, more than 4 million users abandoned a retail website due to accessibility problems.
  • Discriminatory actions impact commercial prospects. According to Forbes, 71% of persons with disabilities abandon inaccessible websites.

The Common Standards and Their Issues

The W3C or the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, are international guidelines that set acceptable baselines for website accessibility. There are three levels of conformance (A, AAA, and AAA), with “A” being the most accessible.

WCAG can help you respond to accessibility needs like those raised in the Click-Away Pound survey. In the survey, people with disabilities were asked about the most challenging aspects of making purchases. The following were cited as the top obstacles:

  • Pages that are overcrowded with content: – 66%
  • reCAPTCHA checks: – 59%
  • Inadequate legibility (contrast, text layout): – 56%
  • The visual and graphic distractions of moving pictures and visuals: – 53%
  • Inadequate link information: – 59%
  • Form completion: – 56%

Website Accessibility Best Practices

1. Excessive Content

It is common knowledge that as the number of options rises, so does the work necessary to gather information and make sound judgments. The same thing happens when there is too much content—it quickly becomes overpowering.

A page should only have one.

This is ideal since it helps point out your title for site visitors H1. It is also critical that each separate page only has one H1 tag.

Websites should also utilize subheadings. Headings split up a ‘slab’ of text for sighted users. At the same time, wearable technology such as screen readers can use a shortcut function to bounce between headings or derive a cognitive map of the information from the heading structure.

It’s crucial not to overlook a heading level. For example, if you use h3, it must be preceded by h2. Employ bulleted lists that are properly formatted in HTML as ul and li.

It’s also important to minimize the use of technical jargon in crafting your website’s content. Using plain language also helps with readability and word count.

2. reCAPTCHA

Google’s ReCAPTCHA service is free and protects websites from spam. It should be simple for humans but difficult for bots or malicious software to figure out.

reCAPTCHA proved difficult for many users. Fortunately, Google modified the reCAPTCHA style. A new update, “No CAPTCHA ReCAPTCHA,” is more accessible and popular than the previous version.

This requires the user to check a box to confirm they are not a bot. They can pass without further interaction if they do. If they fail, however, it will present another challenge.

reCAPTCHA v3 is the most accessible version of reCAPTCHA. Unlike v2, reCAPTCHA v3 is undetectable to website visitors. There are no problems to solve. Instead, reCAPTCHA v3 continually watches the visitor’s activity to identify whether the visitor is a human or a bot.

3. Distracting Images and Graphics

People with ADHD, impaired working memory or cognitive impairments may be affected by distractions and interruptions. Seizures can also be triggered by flickering and flashing content.

This information can be presented as moving, blinking, or scrolling information.

W3 guidelines require websites to adhere to the following: “Mechanism for the user’s to pause, stop or hide it” unless movement, blinking or scrolling are essential.

4. Poor Link Information

Poor copywriting is one of the major causes of poor link quality. Poor copywriting is often the main reason for poor links in screen readers.

Poor link information can be detrimental to people who use screen readers. If a link is not labeled with accurate or descriptive information, users might not find the link they need. Moreover, colorblind users might miss color cues for links, while keyboard-only users might be unable to click them if they’re only accessible via the mouse.

This is easiest to fix by writing unique link texts. However, if this is impossible, you can use an aria-label attribute to each link to override the link text to assistive technology.

5. Filling out forms

Many e-commerce sites never update their forms. As a result, modern browsers cannot access forms, and screen readers cannot read them. This is often because older browsers did not allow for much styling of form elements, so developers faked them with other HTML elements. Modern browsers support attractive radio buttons, custom select and Combobox components, accessible Autocomplete controls, and similar features.

Some users may find forms challenging to use, so it is crucial to design them carefully. It is important to label each field and make the form easy to use.

You will want the labels to be placed directly next to their respective fields. It’s also wise to provide brief instructions to help users understand what is required to fill out the form correctly.

For example, you could include placeholders containing text in the form fields. They will be able to see how they should fill out the form.

Conclusion

There are many reasons to be happy about the continued improvements in web accessibility. It is now easier than ever to design your website with accessibility as a priority. You want your website accessible to everyone, even those with disabilities.

A company’s dedication to diversity is demonstrated via an accessible website, which most can assess using a website accessibility checker. To be compatible with assistive technology, your website can be reCAPTCHA-friendly, free from distracting images and graphics, and easy to fill out forms. This simple guide will help you support a more equitable web experience. This will ensure that your site is accessible to as many people as possible.

Establishing an Accessible Website is the Right Thing to Do

Advanced Digital Media Services assists businesses in bringing their websites up to contemporary accessibility standards. Our Denver SEO experts can review your website and make extensive recommendations for increasing accessibility using automated accessibility testing, human knowledge, and referencing web accessibility examples. Learn more about our platform, and then get in touch with us when you’re ready to make your website accessible.

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ADMS Paul Donahue

About Paul Donahue

Paul Donahue has been in the digital marketing realm since 2009. He has an intense passion for creating a dynamic digital presence for his clients through modern websites that rank well on Google. His company’s website is Colorado’s top-ranked SEO company. Author of three books published on Amazon, he is particular about staying abreast with the constantly changing SEO and digital marketing industry trends.

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