Your website represents your business online therefore it is important to make it accessible so that more and more people know about it. As the use and awareness is growing, accessibility of any website is extremely crucial. The website code is not the only important factor in terms of determining the accessibility, even the design and content of the website matters. Factors like accessibility, standards and usability are inter connected and they are the most important factors in reaching out to people through the website. Web accessibility is a topic that has a wide horizon and it has become a field in itself; however good website accessibility if not difficult to achieve. It is just a unique and clever way to design and develop. Here is an insight on the most promising ways of ensuring website accessibility.
The users should be able to navigate easily in your website, it is important to have a consistent website layout and structure. Navigation, banner and sidebar are the key elements of a website and therefore it is important to ensure that they appear at similar locations throughout the website. It is also essential to mark them systematically, the same heading structure can be used for this purpose. This will also be beneficial for the people with cognitive impairments and also for those who use a screen-reader application that processed the content on the screen and reads it aloud.
Page headings give a consistent structure to the HTML documents; therefore there are the are the basic building blocks of the web pages. For instance, the h1 element might consist of the title of the page or the website and the h2 element would contain a heading on that particular page. This makes website navigation easier for the users. Good page headings are also beneficial for search engine optimization purposes. Moreover styling like making the fonts bold and increasing font size should not be used alone for creating headings. It is preferable to use the HTML elements, and then the appearance can be modified through CSS.
Use Proper Meta Tags
The main meta tags like http-equiv, language, description and keywords should be included in <head> tag. The http-equiv meta tag is the most crucial one. It is used along with the DOCTYPE, it helps the browser to display your page perfectly. The language meta tag is specifically important for the non-english websites, however it has become a common practice to include it on every page, despite the language. The description and keywords meta tags are extremely important for ensuring the website accessibility.
Allow Enlarged Text
At some times the user may want to make the text larger. Therefore you must consider offering alternate style sheets with larger font sizes and at the same time you must also ensure that your layout doesn’t break when text-only zoom is enabled in the browser. The visually impaired users may want to zoom in on the text without changing the structure of the entire website layout, this might lead to difficulties in terms of scrolling and tracking the text over long lines. Depending on the target market of your website, you might also want to consider enlarging the default font to a few points. In case you are posting articles or large quantities of text, it is preferable to offer the text-only versions, therefore it is possible for the user to manipulate the text the way he likes it.
Content is the most important part of your website. Preferably you should keep it simple. Best option is to use short and up to the point sentences to enable better understanding of the user. This might affect your creativity to some extent, but at the end of the day, it is important to use clear, concise text not just for the foreign language readers, but for the english-language readers as well. Moreover you can also have a look at some of the big international websites, like Facebook and Google to study the ways in which they have created the design framework that is understandable and accessible to people from all the cultural backgrounds. This will help you in establishing a multicultural site and thereby there will be an increase in your traffic with visitors from around the world.
The guidelines mentioned above are not very extravagant but they are practical in terms of making your website accessible. Apart from the ways mentioned above, it is also essential to host your website on the most efficient web hosting plan. If your website is up all the time, it is accessible as well. You must make sure that the web hosting plan you select provides with all the necessary resources to backup the website. An accessible website will simplify the process of seeking information for the users and thereby they will prefer to come to your website every time, this will have a positive impact on your web presence.