It isn’t far-fetched to assume that you’ve at least once encountered a website where you felt like you’d have to find another source of information just to learn more about how to use this very website!
It can be chaotic, visually unappealing, and most importantly, susceptible to being shut down. If you’re having a hard time accessing content on your website, it is high time that you reconsidered the ways you went about designing your WordPress project. If you’re residing in the US, then it is a necessity that you DO take the following tips seriously because in doing so, you’re not only making life easier for people with disabilities, but you’re in essence dodging an inevitable lawsuit.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) makes no secret of their seriousness when it comes to the American Disability Act (ADA). Websites, much like any other public entities, should adhere to certain standards that allow for easy accessibility for people with disabilities. Every website owner should be aware of the requirements mentioned in this act and ways to meet them, so we have prepared a short set of tips on how to achieve that. For more detailed information, you can always read a dedicated ADA book.
Web Content Accessibility in a Nut Shell
The aha moment is when you put yourself in the place of those with a diverse range of moving, hearing, cognitive, and sight abilities. This is where you feel the need for designing a website with its contents fully accessible because after all – you don’t want to have your range of audience limited. Fully accessible designs are those with proper visuals, readable content, and viewable media. Achieving this will be a great help to those who have difficulties accessing your content.
WordPress’ accessibility handbook is a repository of information regarding the ins and outs of content accessibility. Current research shows that accessible websites rank higher in search results which would, in turn, improve audience reachability. This is no shocker given that the statistics show that globally, just under 300 million people experience significant disabilities. Crafting your design, therefore, needs to be taken seriously as it is in direct proportion to your overall success.
The How’s of Achieving Accessibility
While working rigorously to conform with W3C’s Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines 2.0, the WordPress community openly expresses their accessibility shortcomings, so if you’re thinking that an out-of-the-box WordPress theme is doing all the work for you – think again. Now that you’re familiar with the rules of the game, let’s go over what you should consider when optimizing your content accessibility. From text-alternatives to reading-order, we’ve listed a few notable tips you can consider to guide you in the right direction.
- Use free online services or WordPress optimization plugins to further optimize your images along with reducing their sizes accordingly.
- The structure of your headings play a huge role, so make sure you organize your headings in a sequential hierarchy.
- Not all buttons and links are clearly visible, therefore providing ample directional cues could prove prudent down the line.
- Text-color-contrast is of utmost importance. This shouldn’t be limited to only certain aspects of your website. Pay special attention to titles, links, captions, etc.
- Content structure organization is crucial. Make no mistake about it! It is often thought to be a make-it-or-break-it, subtle feature that most people overlook. After all, no one has the zen patience of reading through a content that is all over the place.
- Alternative texts are particularly useful since not all people are going to be able to see the images on your website. Proper use of Alt-texts is a game changer so make sure to use Alt-Tags for your buttons, links, images, etc.
Imagine the following hypothetical scenario. You wake up one day realizing that for some reason, your limbs aren’t working. You immediately start to panic and hyperventilate. You then remember that you’ve experienced the same thing once before and, with the help of your doctor, came to the conclusion that your sleeping position has ticked some underlying nerve issues. For the average Joe, that situation is simply LIFE, with all its uncertainties. It is with a slight change in the scenario that we tend to see all the red flags.
Imagine that that same morning you had to go on your computer for an urgent matter that could’ve potentially changed your life’s trajectory. You would feel helpless, don’t you? This is a great way for us to look into these matters through the lens of our friends with disabilities.