Learning how to make your website accessible to disabled people can be daunting at first. Because accessibility is not taught or talked about enough, it can feel like there’s a lot to learn and the tools we have don’t always make it easy.
But even small changes can make a big difference! Here are our top ten tips for website managers, publishers, and content creators who want to get started with web accessibility.
If all these tips are new to you, see if you can choose at least a couple to start using. Doing so can greatly improve the usability of your website for people who may benefit from improvements the most – and there are legal reasons for creating accessible websites too, which we’ll explore in next blog post on this topic.
1. Link text
Avoid using words like "click here" and ‘read more’ as links. Instead, use descriptive link text that summarises what you’re linking to.
Use proper headings rather than just making text look like a heading. Choose the right heading levels for your content.
Use proper lists instead of just marking list items with symbols or indentation.
4. Alternative text
Add meaningful alternative text for images. If your images are just for decoration or they repeat information that’s said in the text, leave the alternative text blank.
5. Images containing text
Avoid publishing images of text. If an image is your best choice (like with maps or labelled diagrams), provide a text alternative.
Check the colour contrast of text, graphs, diagrams, and other coloured information against their backgrounds. Use shapes, labels or patterns as additional cues when conveying information through colour.
7. Written content
Ensure written content is clear, concise, and provides useful context.
8. Downloadable files
Avoid downloadable files (e.g. Word, PDF, PowerPoint, Excel) unless they have been tested and improved for accessibility. PDF files, for example, can be made accessible, but this generally involves an extra step to test and improve it after the content has been exported from its original format.
Add captions (and ideally transcripts) to videos.
Be careful with tables – use them only for tabular data (like sets of numbers). Avoid complex table layouts with multiple rows or columns of headings.
If you’d like further information on any of the tips, feel free to contact us. And if you’re already doing all these 10 things, that’s great! What are you working on next?
Read more in our second blog post on the accessibility topic: Web accessibility laws in Sweden
Before she moved to Stockholm, Mischa Andrews, Consultant, helped improve the web accessibility of government agencies, private companies, and a non-profit organisation in Australia.