Did you know that about 15% of all people in the world live with disabilities? It is not just a business imperative but also the right thing to do to try and improve the accessibility of your website.
Accessibility is an essential criterion that will gear your WordPress sites towards serving a more inclusive and diverse set of audiences. It also does huge help to boost your SEO and brand image.
Thinking Website Accessibility
Let’s see why you need to start thinking about accessibility.
- It helps improve user experience.
- Makes your site attractive to a wide range of audience
- Boosts your PR
- Improves your search engine rankings.
Accessibility should not be an extra add on you think about at the end of the process. It has to be part and parcel of your design process from the very early stages to be truly helpful.
And making your website accessible does not end with choosing a set of certain features, plugins, or themes. Everyone from the website owners to content managers, designers, and editors should be keen on delivering accessibility oriented content. Every stage of the content management process has to include accessibility as a key deciding factor in how the content is created, edited and published
Some of the critical areas of a website where accessibility comes into play are:
- Navigation and
Focus on each of these to make sure your site has a simple and easy to use interface that can cater to all kinds of people. Cossim.org is an excellent example of a highly accessible website.
Here are some simple tips and techniques that can help you improve your website’s accessibility.
How To Improve Your Site’s Accessibility
Use Accessibility-Ready Themes
Themes provide the basic design and layout for your website. And you have to know that a good design has to be an accessible design.
So, start your website with a better theme that is good at providing accessibility options. Developing these from scratch or customizing a non-accessible theme can be tiring. Such an effort can also miss out on certain accessibility areas.
Instead, opt for a theme that comes prepackaged with all the accessibility options and user-friendly design you seek.
You can search for such themes by using the tag ‘accessibility-ready.’ WordPress has established specific criteria for themes to qualify for the accessibility-ready tag. These criteria include directions on navigation options, color contrasts, header structures, color schemes, and many more.
Using the tag can help you narrow down your search and find the best themes to use for your site.
Test Your Website’s Accessibility
How would you know your website is accessible if you don’t test it? And testing for accessibility is not the same as testing for logical functionality. It has to be done in regards to the human-computer interaction principles and practice user experience paradigms.
This requires the need to use specialized testing tools and methodologies. And fortunately, there are plenty of resources to help you with accessibility testing. Some reliable testing tools you can check out are
WAVE (Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool) is an online tool that can help you evaluate the accessibility score for your website. All you have to do is enter your website address in the site’s text bar and start exploring. The tool marks any accessibility concerns and gives detailed information on how you can improve.
There are many more specific tools that you can use for resting specific functionalities like onscreen text readers and color issues on your website.
Make Use Of Dedicated Accessibility Plugins
If in case you want a particular function to have better functionality, say an onscreen reader, you may require a dedicated WordPress plugin.
There are several plugins that help you add accessibility options to your website with ease.
These plugins also offer a good alternative when changing your existing theme is out of the question.
Some good options are:
- WP accessibility
- wp accessibility helper
- accessibility by UserWay
- Accessibility widget
- Accessible WP
- Contact form accessible defaults
- Divi Accessibility
Other Interesting Ways To Boost Your Website Accessibility
- Make sure all textual content on the site is screen reader-friendly.
- Provide alternate texts for images
- Make sure your site has an optimal color contrast. For instance, there should be sufficient color contrast between the text and background. Black font on white background looks better than a grey font on a white background.
- Make use of descriptive links.
- Add subtitles/ captions to videos and images. You can also add transcripts to your video content, especially for educational content.
- Give appropriate headings to your pages and posts. Structure your content in a logical manner.
- Add keyboard navigation options to your site. You can also try to add voice-activated navigation options
- Make sure your font selection is legible and easy for people to read. Cursive fonts can be avoided. Try to use clean looking fonts that have an appropriate letter and word spacing.
- Create easy to click CTA areas.
- Provide captions for your embedded videos
- Test your website on all platforms and mobile devices. Look how the website works on different screen sizes and devices platforms and tweak the accessibility options accordingly.
- Try to go through and follow the WordPress accessibility guidelines.
The Wrap Up
There are many more improvements and features that can be added to make your site more welcoming to everyone. So, never stop learning and keep exploring the possible ways to improve accessibility.