How can you help make your website more accessible?
We all know that improving accessibility for all by removing barriers is important. Enabling as many people as possible to understand your offer, and navigate the content of your website, helps to maximise your reach and encourage more people to contact you about your services.
This week, our Campaign Supporter webinar on Digital Accessibility highlighted some of the fast and free ways you can check your own website and take the first steps to improving accessibility for all.
Here we share our top tips from the session:
1. Attractive design doesn’t mean your site is accessible
When working on the design of your website or promotional materials it’s easy to get carried away with wanting to make something as slick and shiny as possible – but that doesn’t always mean it will also be accessible or easy to navigate.
Have you tried this free tool which can review the colour and contrast of essential text and buttons? Or this tool that automatically checks all elements of a website for sufficient contrast, alongside 40 other accessibility issues.
2. If you don’t ask, you won’t get
More often that not our websites are designed, built, and in some respect managed by external agencies. You might presume that these agencies will automatically ensure your website is accessible, but that isn’t the case. It’s therefore important to ensure that accessibility is a built-in part of your proposal documents, and resulting contracts with these agencies.
3. Check keyboard accessibility yourself
All websites should be able to be navigated using only the tab and enter buttons of your keyboard. You can check this yourself by visiting your website and pressing the tab button multiple times. Does this clearly highlight and move across the navigation buttons of your website? Here you’re looking for a solid or dotted box outline, underlining, or colour and text change which clearly highlights where you are on that page.
4. Ensure there are multiple ways to contact you
Different people will have different requirements and preferred means of communication when it comes to getting in touch with you. For example, someone with dyslexia might not wish to fill in a lengthy written form, whilst someone who is deaf might not choose to call you.
By providing as many options as possible, and making sure they are easy to find on your site, you maximise the chances of as many people as possible being able to successfully reach out.
5. Cut the jargon
In almost every professional sector you’ll come across terms, acronyms, and abbreviations that are likely to confuse someone unfamiliar with your industry. For example, someone wanting to write their Will might not be aware that they should be looking for the private client area of a solicitor’s website.
Be sure to use plain English wherever possible and ensure to explain terms that your intended audience might not be familiar with.
6. Make use of built in accessibility check-up tools
Often websites will provide materials and resources to download and access – usually in the form of PDFs. You might not know that there is already a free accessibility check-up tool built in to both Word and PowerPoint.
This makes it quick and easy to identify and resolve any issues within your documents before exporting them to PDF. You can find the tool under the ‘Review’ tab in both programmes.
7. Test, test and test again!
Not only is it important to regularly test your site and resources yourself, but it is extremely helpful to gather feedback from as many different users, with differing accessibility requirements, to help identify other areas you can improve their online experience.
Whether it be colleagues, contacts, friends, or family – increasing your understanding of how they interact with your website will provide valuable insight, as well as demonstrate just how much impact the changes you make can have.