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New report reveals the 5 most important ways to make your site accessible

by jcp
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  • Website accessibility is a rewarding discipline – and a regulatory obligation. But many organizations are not making the investment.
  • Fasthosts reveals five top tips on how best to improve a website’s accessibility.

According to the Family Resources Survey 2018/19, 14.1 million people1 in the UK reported having a disability, consisting of 8% of the child population, 19% of the working age population, and 45% of the pension age population.

In a nutshell, web accessibility means designing a website so that people with a disability can access the same information and do the same things as others. Disabilities might include auditory, cognitive, physical and other.

As some disabilities are invisible, websites should also be accessible to users of all abilities. In fact, businesses could be losing customers, or even breaking the law if the websites are not accessible for all.

A new report by Fasthosts reveals the top tips for improving a website’s accessibility and here’s how:

Tips for improving website accessibility:

  • Add in alt text

Images and other non-text content should have descriptive alternative text (alt-text) added to them so they can be read by a screen reader. Alt text also helps search engines understand your non-text content better. Users with visual impairments may rely on assistive technologies, like a screen reader, to complete actions on websites. That can include filling out a form, accessing a PDF, or reading text. Using generic link text like ‘learn more’ and ‘click here’ provides no context to screen reader users. All link text should therefore make sense when read in isolation.

  • Increased font size

As simple as it sounds, by offering an enlarged text option to users your website’s content can be read more easily and without changing the page layout.

This can actually benefit all website users, not just people with visual impairment. For example, older users, users with a poor Internet connection, or users who like reading video captions rather than listening to the sound in a noisy environment.

  • Enhanced keyboard navigation

All website functionalities should be available using a keyboard only. Keyboard users typically use the tab key to navigate through elements on a website, but most users with a disability rely on assistive technology, like a screen reader, to navigate through a website. So, it’s fundamental for websites to have keyboard-only navigation.

  1. Avoid using tables

Screen readers afford users special functionality within tables by querying the row and column headers with any specific cell. As this might be quite confusing if the tables do not have detailed captions, it’s advisable to avoid using a lot of tables in your website content and especially complex tables with multiple rows and columns.

  1. Build in change

Making your website more accessible doesn’t always mean that you have to edit your existing content and page’s layout. But adding new video content, transcribing the audio of your existing content, and making it accessible for users with disabilities will be highly beneficial.

The full study can be found here: https://www.fasthosts.co.uk/blog/tips-for-making-your-website-more-accessible/

Michelle Stark, Sales and Marketing Director at Fasthosts comments:

“All users should have the same positive experience when visiting a website. In fact, ‘compliance’ is the minimum of what you should aim to implement, and achieving the best possible experience for all your customers should be the ultimate goal.”

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