What is Website Accessibility?
July 8th, 2021
Website accessibility allows people to perceive, navigate, understand, and interact with apps, websites, and software — no matter their abilities.
Accessibility should be standard for all websites, but it hasn’t always been the common practice. If your website is more than three years old, it is likely missing the coding standards listed in the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) that allow screen-readers and other assistive technology to assist people with disabilities.
Why should your website be accessible?
It is believed that 15-20% of internet users have a disability. Not only does an inaccessible website restrict your audience, but it can also create legal issues. Companies both large and small have been subject to lawsuits because accessibility rights fall under the American Disability Act (ADA). Even pizza-giant Dominos recently received backlash over a lack of accessibility.
The IRS will grant up to $5,000 for Website Accessibility updates
Updating your website for accessibility takes time and can become costly – which might be why so many business owners avoid making the update.
But under the new IRS Disabled Access Credit, companies that make their business accessible to persons with disabilities — including increasing website accessibility — can now qualify for a $5,000 tax credit.
The benefits of an accessible website far outweigh the initial time and cost, and for your customers, it is well worth the investment.
If your website isn’t accessible, what should you do?
You can test the level of accessibility for your website through a variety of free tools. We recommend running your website through Google’s Lighthouse tool or the WAVE Web Accessibility Evaluation tool. Both tools provide an outline of issues that a developer can improve on each page of your website.
If your website isn’t up to snuff, you can improve accessibility through a variety of updates. Although most changes require editing the code, you can make many improvements without additional code or markup.
Our top recommended updates to improve your website accessibility
- Use alt tags on your images, so they are labeled for screen readers
- Make sure colors have enough contrast to ensure all elements are visible
- Allow font-size changing for small screens and low-visibility users
- Provide transcripts for video and audio files for deaf and hard of hearing users
- Include captions in videos for deaf and hard of hearing users
- Allow volume controls on all audio and video features for deaf and hard of hearing users
- Pair color-only indicators with status icons so different states are visible to color-blind users
- Make sure all of your forms have labels that are unique so that fields are easy to use with screen readers
- Include aria-labels for icons and make sure they’re visible unless they are unnecessary for functionality
- Add accessible names to all buttons, links, and menu items for screen readers
- Set a valid language attribute for your website so screen readers can accurately transcribe the content
To ensure your website is an inclusive environment for your customers, including those with disabilities, we recommend a website evaluation. In an evaluation with Coretechs, we will review your website against WCAG 2.1 standards and provide a list of recommended updates to improve your website accessibility. If you need assistance reviewing or updating your website, give us a call today.