One thing that is very common in building codes is making sure that those that have a disability can access services just like their able-bodied counterparts. Websites are no different. Small business owners we speak to have not considered website accessibility when thinking about how users access websites. We explain why accessibility is important for small business websites and why you must consider it when building or updating your website.
What is Website Accessibility?
In the United States, the American’s with Disabilities Act requires websites be accessible to people of all abilities. Websites must be designed so people of all abilities can access information and purchase products. There are similar laws in other countries such as Great Britain. From a business perspective, an accessible website is the right thing to do. It also just makes good business sense. The more people who are able to visit and navigate your website, the more potential new and repeat business.
One in four adults in the US have some type of disability.
Three Examples of Website Accessibility Issues
So you may be wondering if your website is accessible to all. There is no sure fire way without an accessibility audit from a professional specializing in accessibility. However, we have three examples of obvious red flags in which a website would not be accessible to all.
Text Contrast, or the Lack of It
A common website accessibility issue is light color text on a light background. This does not provide enough contrast and may be unreadable for a vision- impaired person. Light colors and text may be a trend, but they are difficult, if not impossible for a vision impaired person to read. There is contrast checker at the bottom of this page in so you can check the colors against to see if there is enough contrast.
Can a visitor move through your website using just the tab key? Many people with disabilities are unable to use a mouse so they rely on tabbing from link to link, sometimes using a joystick. If the website does not allow this navigation, it is frustrating for a disabled person. Go to your website and try to navigate using just the tab key. Does it skip menu items? Does it jump around in a way that seems out of order? Then it does not pass this test.
Screen Reader Failures
The third common issue is websites that are not built for screen readers. If a blind person visits a website using a screen reader, the website the screen reader communicates what user cannot see visually. One common issue is not having alternative or Alt-text on images. Another is having text inside form fields rather than above the form fields. If your website misses the mark on either of these, it is not accessible.
Helpful Tips For Website Accessibility
Accessibility is of utmost importance in website design and development. Here are tips to get started.
- View accessibility as an opportunity, not an obstacle in the process of building your website.
- Make website accessibility a focus of the design of your website from the start, not an afterthought.
- Acquaint yourself with the resources provided below to learn what goes into building for accessibility.
- Allocate additional time and financial resources to address accessibility for your website.
- Enlist the help of a website developer well versed in this accessibility as it is extremely important.
We work with small businesses that need help with building a new website or updating an existing website. Does your website have out-dated design, slow loading time, or lack of modern website features? We can help! We do website design and development, WordPress Care Plans, and as-needed support with our HelpMe! service.
In addition to the resources in this blog, we have a number of free resources. First is our downloadable eBook with the essentials for every small business website. Next, we we offer a free WordPress website audit. It is a $199 value that we offer small business owners for FREE! Finally, we provide a free no obligation consultation. Send us an email or schedule a time directly on our calendar. We look forward to assisting you!