Top Tips for an Accessible Website
What are the most important things that you need to have in your business isn’t an accessible website. It’s not just about a website that people can click onto and find all the answers that they have, but it’s a website that will tell them what they need to know, when they need to know it and it should be easy to navigate. If you want to appeal to your customer base then you need to make sure that your navigation process is R’s easy as possible which means you need to have a sitemap and easy website to manage, and you need to ensure that you are testing it regularly so that you know that it works.
You don’t have to do your website yourself if you don’t have the know-how, as this is one thing that you don’t want to get wrong. Outsourcing your web design to somebody else is a good way to make sure it’s accessible because having somebody else look at your processes will help you determine whether or not they will work for everybody else. You might need to ask how to set up live chat on a website so that your website is going to be accessible at any time of day or night, but we’re talking about accessibility here in terms of being able to navigate a website without having to click off in frustration. Remember, you only have about 30 seconds to capture the attention of your potential audience, if you are not entertaining them or impressing them in that time, you are going to lose their custom and have to start all over again.
Instead of worrying about losing customers just make sure that your website is good from the get go and you won’t have that problem. So, how can you make your website more accessible? Let’s take a look at several options below.
- Choose the right content management system. There are so many different content management systems available that can help you to build your website if you’re not planning to use an outsourced service to do it. Some of the examples that you may already know of include WordPress or Drupal, but there are so many options available. Once you’ve chosen one that suits your needs, you can then make sure you choose a theme or a template that is easily readable. A theme that is too dark may not be seen by some of your customers and the theme that is too light with light fonts could be an off putting thing to see. You want your customers to click onto your website and spend some time shopping around before actually making a purchase but if your theme or your features are not good enough they’re not going to do this.
- Always use headings. When you add to your own website to see what it looks like do you know what everything is telling you to do? The whole point of a website is to offer information, so you have to make it as simple as possible for your customers to understand the information you are trying to tell them. So, you need to use headings correctly to organize the structure of your content in a way that screen readers can pick it up and read it out to those who are visually impaired. With the correct headings the content of your website will be organized correctly and easily interpreted. You need to ensure that you adhere to the correct order of your headings though, so don’t just pick something just because it looks good visually which can confuse screen readers. Always create a new CSS to style your text.
- Impress your customers with use of alt text. You may have seen it on Instagram or other social media pages, but alt text is there for a good reason. When somebody is visually impaired, they need the screen reader to tell them what the images are in great detail. Alt text should be provided for images so that the screen reader can understand the message conveyed by the use of the images on the page. This is especially true for informative images such as infographics. When you create it, the alt text reads out the message you want to convey through that image and if the image includes any text, it should be included, too.
- Be descriptive with your links. When you include links in your content, use the text properly and describe where the link will go. Click here is not good enough when it comes to these links and it’s not considered descriptive enough. This makes it ineffective for a screen reading user. Visually impaired users can use their screen readers to scan for links so it should say things like to learn more… rather than click here to read…
- Be aware of your colleges. Green colour blindness can put you at a disadvantage for website design? It may affect approximately 8% of the population, so using only colors like these will prevent some people from understanding your message. If some of these people are in your target audience this is going to be shooting yourself in the foot. Some people with disabilities benefit greatly from colour use when distinguishing and organizing content. Use colour but also use other visual indicators. You should also be mindful of obvious issues such as light blue text on a white background or bright pink text on a red background. There are plenty of tools that you can use to evaluate your colour contrast and this can assist you in making your page more accessible than ever before.
- Make all of your forms accessible. Every field of all forms on your website should be appropriately labeled so that the screen reader can pick them up. Each field on your phone should be well positioned and descriptive so as you have screen readers go through the form fields they should be able to fill out all the fields before they get to submit.
- Make sure to install a live chat option. As part of being accessible to everybody else, you have to ensure that you have a live chat option that’s available 24 hours a day. It’s a good way to ensure that even those who are not available during the daylight hours are able to log on and purchase from your business and ask questions when necessary. This kind of accessibility will make you more appealing to customers. Live chat enables you to be available to all types of customers and you will be able to offer a much better service to people as a result.
- Consider how fast your website is. Websites have to be quick these days because people only have a limited attention span before they close a window out of frustration and move on to something else. When you are speaking to your web designer, make sure that your website is loading correctly and within 30 to 40 seconds. If there are any legs or bugs, this is going to put people off and they will instantly decide not to use your business for that reason. It may sound like a superficial reason, but we are living in a time where people want answers and they want results right now and they don’t want to wait even if waiting means an additional 30 seconds.
- Ask your audience what they want. Created your website you had an audience in mind, so reach out to them and ask them what would work for them more than anything else. If you will find that your audience prefers you to have video content that is easily accessible on your page, start crafting a new video content strategy. If people prefer written content that is concise and easy to follow, that’s your next port of call. You shouldn’t stick with one way of doing things because you think it looks good if your customers are not interested. You can tell whether you are having any impact by your traffic analytics, so make sure you are keeping up with those, too.
- Make sure that your website is designed for tablets as well as computers. Most people surf the net on the move these days, so you need to ensure that your website is able to be used with a tablet as well as a computer. This means that you need to look at your user experience and start molding your web design to that experience. If people can’t scroll on your website correctly or the web page doesn’t load properly on a phone or a tablet, you’re going to find that your traffic rates drop down. Make sure before you release your website to the public that you have scrolled through it yourself and judge it based on how you would like a website to look. As a business leader you need to know that people are going to be judging everything that you do and deciding whether to use your business based on how your website is presented. If you don’t do this early enough, you could lose out.