Kathleen Shrimpton Team : Web Production Tags : Website Accessibility User Experience Featured

How Accessible Is Your Website?

Kathleen Shrimpton Team : Web Production Tags : Website Accessibility User Experience Featured

Yesterday was Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD), which was created to raise awareness and get people thinking about digital accessibility.

The standards for website accessibility come from W3C’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.

But if you don’t have the time to read them…which let’s face it who does, there are 5 quick checks you can perform to check your website’s accessibility.

1.       You shouldn’t have to use your mouse

Rather than using your mouse, use the tab key to navigate through your site. In order to click on something hit the space bar or return key.
Check if you can access all sections of the site or if there are some areas that are missed.

 2.       Look at media files

For any media content such as images, videos and audio podcasts, check if these have captions, transcripts or audio descriptions. This is for users who have visual or hearing impairments as the content still needs to be available for them.

 3.       Screen readers

For users with visual impairments a common product they will use is a screen reader to access a website. By moving through a web page the screen reader is designed to read out the content on a page.
Now if you don’t have time to read W3C’s guidelines, you probably won’t want to go out buy a screen reader but there are free alternatives online such as the NVDA screenreader.
Firefox also allows the Fangs extension.

 4.       Colour contrast

Another visual impairment that can affect how users access your website, is colour blindness. In order for all content to be readable on a website it is important to ensure that you have an appropriate colour contrast.
You can access colour contrast tools online to specify the contrast between the foreground text and the background colour.

 5.       Accessibility tools 

There are several accessibility checking toolbars available online which can also help you perform the above checks. In order to do an in depth review of the code you will need a developer to investigate the code itself, but the above checks will allow you to have a look at the more obvious accessibility standards that all websites need.