Is Your Website Accessible to All?
Website accessibility remains one of the hottest topics in digital marketing today. For those unfamiliar with website accessibility, it is the practice of properly designing and coding websites so people with disabilities can use them. The most widely accepted standards for website accessibility are the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). This is how they define accessibility:
Accessibility involves a wide range of disabilities, including visual, auditory, physical, speech, cognitive, language, learning, and neurological disabilities. Although these guidelines cover a wide range of issues, they are not able to address the needs of people with all types, degrees, and combinations of disability. These guidelines also make Web content more usable by older individuals with changing abilities due to aging and often improve usability for users in general.
For a website to comply with WCAG best practices, it must be perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust. Here’s what that means to you.
A website is considered perceivable when the information and user interface components are presented to users in ways users can comprehend. Put simply, that means that users should be able to interpret information from your website, regardless of their disability. An example of non-compliance is posting a pre-recorded video to your site without providing audio or a transcript of what was said.
An operable website is one that features user interface components and a navigation that any user can operate. If your website moves, blinks, or scrolls automatically, longer than five seconds, and is presented in parallel with other content, there must be a mechanism available for the user to pause, stop, or hide it.
Having an understandable website is central to accessibility. When a website is understandable, users are able to comprehend the information presented and the content or operation of a user interface is not beyond cognition. Predictability is a big component of this principle. For example, if a user was focused on a component of the website, it should not initiate a change of context, like opening a new page or significantly rearranging the content of a page.
A website should be robust enough to be interpreted by a wide variety of user agents – including screen readers, media players, and other assistive technologies. This guideline requires content to stay up-to-date with advancements in user agents and is most relevant to those scripting or developing their own websites.
Start Assessing Your Website
Making your website accessible to all users is priority number one for marketers. Get started today by downloading our checklist, Intro to Website Accessibility Best Practices.