6 Ways to Make Your Website More Accessible
The goal of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is to drive organic traffic to your website.
A robust SEO implementation considers both the technical aspects of the website and the content that the website produces.
However, if your website is being shown to users who cannot effortlessly access it, the whole SEO implementation is fundamentally flawed.
The content should be informative, well written, and easy to digest. In addition, the website itself should be easy to navigate and have fast load times.
What Is Website Accessibility?
An accessible website is a website that anyone can use. A vast range of disabilities should be considered throughout developing a website, and catering for those who are visually impaired is imperative.
But website accessibility goes far beyond building a website for those with sight problems. Accessibility should also consider those with physical, hearing, and cognitive disabilities.
Spans Beyond Disabilities
An accessibile website is also imperative for those who are non-disabled.
For example, an accessible website is one that transfers seamlessly between devices. Meaning, a user can access the same level of service regardless of the device they choose.
Additionally, an accessible site functions perfectly during ‘situational limitations’. These include adjusting the contrast for those in exceptionally bright environments and considering those with slow or unstable internet connections.
6 Tips for Increased Accessibility
There are an endless number of tweaks that can be applied to a website to increase its accessibility. Some are relatively quick fixes, and others require a more substantial overhaul.
Establish A Strong Header Structure
Most people who are blind or partially sighted use screen readers to enjoy the content on your website. Screen readers rely heavily on a heading structure to navigate the articles.
Headings range from H1 – H6 and should be tagged accordingly to ensure these screen readers understand them.
You mustn’t style to text to look like a heading without appropriately marking it as one. Otherwise, the reading software will not register the heading, and the content will be challenging to comprehend for those with disabilities.
Each page should only contain one H1 tag, which will typically be for the article’s title. H2 – H6 tags are then used for various subheadings throughout the piece. Usually, there will be multiple H2 headings throughout the content, separating different sections of information. Under each of them, there will be a variety of H3-H6 headings, where appropriate.
Descriptive, Effective Image Alt Text
Screen readers will use the alt text to describe your images to your reader. Without a cohesive description, your reader will have no idea what the image is.
Traditionally, website owners developed a bad habit of stuffing image tags with keywords as a sly way to incorporate them into the article. This was a nightmare for those who accessed the content through a screen reader. Search engines quickly became wise to this tactic, developing strategies to combat it.
Alt text also hugely helps with situational limitations. If a reader’s internet is running slowly and lacks the power to load the whole page, then the alt description will be displayed instead.
Videos that accompany articles and blog posts are becoming increasingly common.
Many readers prefer to consume their content visually, finding this to be a more engaging and entertaining experience. However, for those with disabilities, videos can be completely inaccessible.
Providing a transcript of your content is a relatively straightforward way to boost the accessibility of your site.
Additionally, many people simply do not have the time to watch an entire video. They would prefer to skim the transcript and jump straight to the content they are searching for.
Breadcrumbs are particularly useful for E-commerce websites, which generally have thousands of products across hundreds of different pages.
It refers to the secondary navigation scheme that shows users exactly where they are on the website. Breadcumbs may look something like this:
Home > Clothes > Men’s Clothes > Men’s Jeans
As well as accessibility, breadcrumbs are great for a well-rounded SEO strategy.
Many who are blind or partially sighted may not be able to use a mouse. Therefore, it is imperative that your website can be navigated with a keyboard alone.
Widgets, drop-down menus, and dialogue boxes should all be considered. This is a crucial element of your accessibility strategy that will help prevent segregating a large percentage of your potential audience.
The colours and contrast levels on your website will have a considerable impact on how accessible it is.
People with conditions such as glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy have a low contrast sensitivity, and therefore will struggle to read web pages where there is not enough differentiation between the colours.
For example, red text on a green background would be challenging to read. In comparison, black text on a yellow background will be much more prominent.
Accessibility and SEO
A successful SEO strategy is not one that merely ticks the boxes prescribed by search engines. Instead, it requires a holistic approach, looking at both the technical aspects of a website and the on-page content.
There is a significant overlap between optimising a website for SEO and optimising it for accessibility purposes.
Accessibility Is The Right Thing To Do
As stated, an accessible website is likely to be one that search engines love. However, we would hope this is not your primary reason for building an accessible space.
You should be hoping to build a community with your product or service. A loyal group of customers who can enjoy your content and support your journey. Without an accessible website, you are immediately outcasting a significant percentage of the population.
Optimising a site, and its content, to make it accessible to the broadest audience can feel like a daunting task. But, it is never too late to implement an accessibility strategy.
For any queries relating to accessibility, or SEO in general, contact Click Slice on 020 3287 3638 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.