As a website owner, it is important to ensure that your website is accessible to everyone, regardless of their ability level. Not only is it the right thing to do, but neglecting to put measures in place to improve the experience for disabled individuals can result in quite serious legal and business consequences, including a loss in revenue and being on the receiving end of a costly lawsuit.
while it’s generally advised to seek out an accessibility expert to gain a full diagnosis of your website, the good news is that there are several things you can check for on your own.
What is web accessibility?
Web accessibility refers to the inclusive practice of making digital content accessible to individuals with disabilities. This includes people who are blind or have low vision, those who are deaf or hard of hearing, individuals with physical disabilities, and those with learning disabilities.
When a website is accessible, it means that users with disabilities can perceive, understand, navigate, and interact with the site and its content. Also, they can contribute to the website. Put simply; an accessible website is one that everyone can use.
On that note, let’s take a look at a few ways you can self-check the accessibility of your site and its content, as a first step on your journey towards an accessible site.
Assess the contrast between text and background colors
One way to check the accessibility of your website is to ensure that there is sufficient contrast between the text and background colors. This is especially important for people who are colorblind or have low vision, as they may not be able to see some content if the colors are too similar.
Numerous tools can be used to check your website’s color contrast. All you need to do is enter the URL of your website, and these tools will analyze the colors used on your site to see if they meet the WCAG guidelines for color contrast.
Check that all images have alt text
Another way to check the accessibility of your website is to ensure that all images have alternative (alt) text. This is critical for users who are blind or have low vision, as they use screen readers to convert the text on a website into audio.
If an image doesn’t have alt text, the screen reader will simply skip over it, which can make it difficult for people to understand the content of a page. To check if your website’s images have alt text, inspect the HTML of the image in any browser by right-clicking and choosing “Inspect” or “Inspect Element.”
Make sure your site is keyboard-navigable
Another way to check the accessibility of your website is to make sure it can be navigated using only a keyboard. This is important for users are unable to use a mouse.
To test if your website is keyboard-friendly, simply try navigating it without using a mouse. If you can’t access all the content or perform all the functions, then your website is not keyboard-friendly and needs to be fixed.
Ensure videos have captions
If your website contains videos, another way to check the accessibility of your site is to make sure that all videos have captions. This is important for users who may be deaf or hard of hearing, as well as those who use screen readers.
Typically, if a video has closed captions, there will be a “CC” button located on the video bar that users can switch on and off. There are various ways to add open captions, and they depend on where the video is hosted.
Look for errors in your HTML
Finally, another way to check the accessibility of your website is to check for any errors in your HTML. This is essential for people who use screen readers, as they may have difficulty understanding a page if there are errors in the code.
To check for HTML errors on your website, you can use the W3C Markup Validation Service. Simply enter your website’s URL, and this tool will analyze your site’s code to look for any errors.
Accessibility is a significant aspect of web design. By checking the five things we outlined in this article, you will have taken the first few steps towards achieving an accessible website.