The Beginner’s Guide To Accessible Web Design & Development

The Beginner’s Guide To Accessible Web Design & Development

Web accessibility is a practice of building web content and applications used by everyone, including people with any form of limitation or disability. To ensure everyone can access your website and use it successfully, you will need to make it accessible.

Contrary to the common misconception, turning your website into an accessible one is neither complicated nor expensive. It might require some effort, especially in web development and web design. So, let’s take a look at everything you need to know if you’ve decided to either create an accessible website from scratch or make your existing one accessible.

Accessibility Web Design

When talking about accessibility web design, it implies that the design of the website is accessible by absolutely everyone. If the web content, such as text or images, is not accessible by someone because they have a limitation or disability, this means you don’t have an inclusive website.

Besides the high risk of paying high fines for not being accessible, you are also losing in terms of SEO. An accessible website will have better search results, reach a bigger audience, have faster download time, and so much more. Simply put, accessible websites are SEO friendly and they are the way of the future.

When looking into ADA website accessibility requirements, there are several elements a web designer will need to keep in mind when making your website accessible:

  • Each image should have its text equivalent for the usage of screen readers.
  • All your posted documents need to be in a text-based format.
  • Avoid dictating colors and font settings.
  • Include audio descriptions and captions where possible.
  • Include the ‘Skip navigation’ option at the top of the site.
  • Avoid flashing, blanking or similar disturbing elements.
  • Include transcripts if sounds automatically play.

Accessibility Web Development

Similar to web design, you will need to focus also on the elements of web development. You will need to run several automated tests to detect potential accessibility issues and also consider doing some testing with disabled user groups to get their feedback on your website. This is especially advised to those who are developing new websites before launching them.

When testing, always think about solutions to problem areas in your content to ensure it’s accessible. Besides content, you will need to test your multimedia content, 3D graphics, and every other element you suspect to be a potential issue for certain disabled user groups. While thinking of the alternatives, always make sure your solutions are within the budget as the more complex features you have on your website, you will need to pay more for the alternatives.

Also, you should aim for your website to be as accessible as possible, but some of your features will probably be difficult to be replaced with alternative solutions due to various reasons. From your end, you should make sure that you have done all you could to deliver an inclusive website.

These are web development features you should implement to have an accessible website:

  • Make sure the website is working on native Windows software as most users with special needs use it.
  • When developing accessible websites, you will need common Windows web browsers such as Firefox and Chrome.
  • Your website should operate with screen readers.
  • Many software and other tools can help test the accessibility of the website like Colour Contrast Analyser and PDF Accessibility Checker.

Action Plan

All of the accessibility issues you have found on your website should be gathered in a report called Action Plan. You can either get your web developers or designers to work on it or you can hire professionals outside your company. If you decide to hire externally, check if the developer and the designer have previous experience with accessible websites as it will make it a bit easier for both sides.

You can take a look at web development NYC options and see which professionals might be right to implement your Action Plan depending on your requirements, the scope of work, and, of course, budget. Once everything is implemented, you should always add elements on your website with accessibility in mind which will allow all of your website users to continue enjoying your content.