Top 10 Accessibility Features Every Website Needs

Top 10 Accessibility Features Every Website Needs

May 24, 2024

Top 10 Accessibility Features

Ensuring your website is accessible to everyone is not just a good practice—it’s essential. An accessible website enhances the user experience for all visitors, including those with disabilities, and helps you reach a broader audience. Here are the top 10 accessibility features every website needs to ensure inclusivity and compliance with accessibility standards.

1. Alt Text for Images

Alt text (alternative text) is crucial for visually impaired users who rely on screen readers. It provides a textual description of images, allowing users to understand the content even if they cannot see it. Ensure every image on your site includes descriptive and relevant alt text. If your site is built using WordPress©, adding alt text to images is rather simple.

2. Keyboard Navigation

Many people with disabilities navigate websites using only a keyboard. Make sure all interactive elements, such as links, buttons, and forms, are accessible via keyboard navigation. All websites should implement a logical tab order, and use ARIA (Accessible Rich Internet Applications) landmarks to enhance navigation.

3. Readable Fonts and Text Sizes

Websites should incorporate fonts that are easy to read and ensure the text size is sufficient for all users. Provide options to increase text size and maintain a high contrast between text and background to enhance readability for users with visual impairments. Though you may be tempted to use that fancy cursive script for your website, it may not be legible to your visitors.

4. High Contrast Colors

How many times have you tried to read white text on a yellow background? Kind of impossible, right? It’s so important for your website’s color palette to include high contrast between text and background. This helps users with low vision or color blindness distinguish content more easily. Tools like the WebAIM Contrast Checker can help you test and adjust your color contrast ratios.

5. Captions and Transcripts for Multimedia

Include captions for videos, and transcripts for audio content. This aids users who are deaf or hard of hearing, as well as those who prefer reading over listening. Many video platforms offer automatic captioning features, but always review and correct captions for accuracy.

6. Descriptive Link Text

Links should have clear, descriptive text that indicates their purpose or destination. Avoid vague phrases like “click here” or “read more.” Instead, use specific descriptions, such as “Download the 2024 Accessibility Report” or “Learn more about our services.”

7. Accessible Forms

Ensure forms are easy to navigate and complete. Use clear labels and instructions for each field, and group related fields together. Implement error messages that are specific and helpful. Make sure forms can be navigated using a keyboard and tested with screen readers.

8. Skip Navigation Links

A “skip to content” link allows users to bypass repetitive navigation menus and go directly to the main content of the page. This feature is particularly beneficial for keyboard and screen reader users, saving them time and effort. Visit any website and press your keyboard TAB key (sometimes it takes 2-3 taps) – you should see a button in the upper-left that looks something like this:

Skip to Content example

9. Responsive Design

A responsive design ensures your website functions well on all devices, including desktops, tablets, and smartphones. It also supports various assistive technologies. Test your site on different devices and screen sizes to ensure a consistent and accessible experience for all users.

10. ARIA Landmarks and Roles

ARIA landmarks and roles help screen readers understand the structure and purpose of different sections of a webpage. Use ARIA attributes to define regions like navigation, main content, and footers. This improves the navigability and usability of your website for users relying on assistive technologies.

Conclusion

Implementing these top 10 accessibility features will significantly improve the user experience for all visitors, including those with disabilities. By prioritizing accessibility, you not only comply with legal standards but also demonstrate a commitment to inclusivity and customer satisfaction. Start making your website more accessible today and reach a broader, more diverse audience. Erawatech is committed to designing, developing and hosting accessible websites as part of our mission to Make Peace With Technology. Consider signing up for a free fifteen-minute consult with us to learn more about our services.