Today is Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) 2020!
As website trends evolve so do the needs of web users, which means ensuring their experience is accessible. Let’s use this GAAD to get the conversation started on digital accessibility and why it’s no longer a nice-to-have, but a necessity when it comes to your website.
To go a bit further into the importance of accessibility, we consulted one of our Frontend Developers at Cludo, Oliver Riborg.
What does it mean for a website to be accessible?
Accessibility is the practice of building websites with no barriers to interaction or access. Accessibility means something is available to everyone regardless of their condition. Accessibility supports inclusion, a lot of people who are dependent on using websites need to have access to content regardless of their condition – that means your website should be accessible to people with a diverse range of hearing, movement, sight, and cognitive ability.
Why is it important for a website to be accessible?
Accessibility is not just to serve the disabled, it’s also to have a well written code on your website that provides a better user experience to all users across all devices.
How do you test for accessibility? Are there tools available to check if a website is accessible?
There’s a lot of accessibility checker tools that you can download as e.g. Google extensions.
I personally prefer to check it myself, a simple exercise you can do, is to check if you can access all content on your website by only using the TAB and Arrow keys on your keyboard.
Another way to test for accessibility can be using the native Windows or Mac screen reader, this will give you insight on how a blind person would be viewing your site.
If I am designing a new website, what are some easy tips for making it accessible?
Use semantic HTML as it already is accessible – if you’re using non-semantic elements make sure that the elements will make sense by using aria.
Another important thing to have on your website is a hidden element that’ll be visible on focus and it should be the first tag the user focuses when they hit TAB – the tag could look like this: <a class=”skip-main” href=”#main”>Skip to main content</a>
Once they hit the anchor tag it’ll take the user to the main content of the page. This will save users who are dependent on tabbing a lot of pain as they won’t have to tab through e.g. the entire navigation whenever they get onto a new page on your website.
Is Cludo site search accessible?
We’ve ensured that our overlay and inline templates are created to be compliant with the WCAG 2.0 (AA) and US Section 508 guidelines.
Want to learn more about accessibility? Check out the below resources!
- The Biggest Design Problems With Your Search Results Page – Check out the most common design problems we see with site search results pages (including accessibility) – and get our tips on how to improve yours.
- Global Accessibility Awareness Day website – Keep the conversation around digital accessibility going today and all year long.
- WCAG Guidelines – These guidelines lay out exactly what your website needs in order to be accessible.
- What is Web Accessibility? – This article from W3 is a great introduction to digital accessibility and why it matters!
- Check the Accessibility of Your Page – This resource from Siteimprove will show accessible any page on your website is, and also give tips on how to improve the overall accessibility.