There are 14.1 million people in the UK who have disability. However, less than 1% of website home pages meet accessibility standards. We will show you the key areas you can check to improve your website and ensure it is accessible to everyone.
Making sure the web is accessible for everyone is important. Not only does this help to ensure that everyone feels included when using websites, some of the areas mentioned below can also help with improving a website’s search engine optimisation.
Label hyperlinks on your page
Hyperlinks are text or images you can click which to take you to another web page or a different part of the same page. Sometimes web developers and content creators create hyperlinks using text which can be confusing to a screen reader user.
For example, when hyperlinking to a contact page, using the text “click here” doesn’t tell you where the link leads, but using “find our contact details” tells you the information you will find on the page without having to go to the page.
Make sure headings are clear
Well-structured pages should make good use of headings to manage the flow of content. When your headings are clear they improve the readability of your page. This makes it easier for readers and search engines to understand your page.
Screen reader users can use shortcuts to skip through the headings on the page, this makes it easier for them to find to information they are interested in. If your headings are unclear or confusing, this could leave screen reader users with no option but to go through a whole page – even if they only want a snippet.
Include alternative text for images
Images are used on web pages to provide a more visual way of representing information. This can help break up the content on a page and make it easier to understand complex information. However, it is important to remember that screen readers can’t understand an image on their own.
Alternative text (or alt text) should be provided for each image since a screen reader will provide this text to a user to replace the image. Moz has a handy page you can use to find out more about implementing alternative text.
Ensure your forms and buttons have labels
Forms on websites have a wide range of purposes. They can be used for booking appointments, applying for services or even for editing content.
It is important to make sure that every field in the form has a label. This allows screen reader users to understand and complete forms. It also makes it easier to use keyboard shortcuts too.
You can use the Mozilla Developer website to find more information on labelling your forms appropriately.
Do not auto-play audio or video
At the best of times, web pages which start to play audio or video unexpectedly are annoying. It can sometimes be difficult to find the part of the page which is producing the sound and even when you do the controls aren’t always immediately obvious.
Screen reader users can have an even tougher time finding the source of the sound. The unexpected audio may be competing with the screen reader, making it even harder to understand the content on the page. And, this can be made even worse by the player controls not being labelled.