Essential Tips for Making Websites Accessible

Slick web designs might impress the board, but what good does that do if your visitors can’t see? Making your website accessible is extremely important for people with visual or physical hindrances. Tiny fonts and low-contrast colors might look good in practice, but they’re useless if they can’t be read or used to navigate your website.

The upside to embracing accessibility is that your digital materials, be them websites, online courses or electronic documents, will be better used by everyone.

Here are nine tips that make a more accessible website.

[You can find an article about the importance of accessibility and helpful tools in the last issue of the newsletter. Subscribe to the newsletter.]

Graphics

Make sure you use images, icons and other visual elements consistently and appropriately.

Text equivalents

If you you’re using graphics, figures or illustrations, make sure you include a line of text or a longer description for people who can’t see them.

Headings

Use H tags to organize and structure your content rather than using larger fonts and different colors. This is a helpful article on H tags and best practices.

Remember PDFs

PDF documents are often neglected in an accessibility review. Make sure they’re accessible too.

Spell out abbreviations and acronyms

Screen readers have a hard time with acronyms – they think they’re full words. Either spell them out or use coding to make them readable. Look at the acronym in the previous paragraph to see an example.

Use tables appropriately

Not everything should be in a table; many contain information that’s more readable when they’re simply written out. If you do use a table, make sure you’re marking it up appropriately.

High contrast

When you use colors, make sure they stand out. I like to run websites through Vischeck to see how they display to people who are color blind.

Captions or scripts

If you’re using video or audio, use closed captioning or provide a script for people to read along.

Use descriptive links

No more “click here.” Use descriptive text around your hypertext.

Welcome to Our Website! (Except for You)

[This appeared in our March newsletter. Wanna subscribe? Do it now!]

I’ve yet to work with a client who doesn’t use the word “welcoming” in some way to describe the website they want. No doubt that goes for just about anyone reading this article right now. In fact, most people will spend considerable thought and effort coming up with the best open-looking fonts, the friendliest text, the warmest colors when it comes to designing a website or online course, all in the service of being more appealing to their audience. For this, I commend them.

But you can’t really be selectively welcoming. “Welcome,” by definition means everybody, not cherry-picking the people who are the easiest to accommodate. It means you need to make your website accessible. It also happens to be a legal requirement for many states who have to comply with Section 508.

So your job – if you’re serious about welcoming – is to make sure your website appears for everybody, no matter if they’re using an iPad, have low vision or some other disability that prevents them from using your website as you intended.

Where to start? An accessibility evaluation is the best place. Talance works with many government clients who are required to follow Section 508 accessibility rules, so we can give your site a thorough evaluation. Contact us for information.

You can also improve your website’s accessibility by running it through one of these free tools. They’ll give you a handful of items you can fix yourself, as well as a solid notion of what to take to a web company to address. Try any or all of these:

Wave

Evaluating Web Sites for Accessibility

Functional Accessibility Evaluator

WebAIM Section 508 Checklist

Want more? Talance can provide expert web accessibility evaluation and consulting to pinpoint problems and provide specific recommendations. Contact us for information.

New Logo for Brockton Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program

Announcing the new Brockton Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program logo:

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Brockton Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program Logo

BTPPP is an organization in Brockton, MA, that aims to reduce teen pregnancy rates. They needed a new logo for web and print that would appeal to teens as well as their mentors.

Talance delivered! The new logo is modern and abstract but still demonstrates health and wellness, rather than sex, and inclusiveness.