Website design has thankfully evolved over the years, gone are the visitor counters, the flashing fonts and slow load times. Instead websites now focus on user friendly designs which aims to serve visitors with information quickly in an attractive and an easy to digest format. And this level of detail needs to be there for all users, yes, we are talking website Accessibility.
A few years ago it would have been incredibly rare for a website brief to land on our desks which mentioned Website Accessibility, it was reserved for large councils and big charitable organisations. However we are now seeing more and more businesses and organisations becoming aware of accessibility and understanding how important it is to allow website users to change the browsing experience to match their needs.
Whilst progress has been made it is clear that there is still plenty more to be done to make the internet accessible and inclusive for all. A recent survey of 1,000 screen reader users thought website accesibility had not changed or got worse over the past year.
How can I make my website content more accessible?
We believe that we all have a responsibility to make our websites more accessible and there are a number of things you can do straight away to make your content more accesible, these include:
- Structure your content into small sections with relevant headings and subheadings
- Use alternative text, also known as alt image tags, for relevant images. This text will not show up on your website but will help Screen Readers to describe the images to users.
- Include captions on any videos that you have on the website and create transcripts for users to download.
- Keep your content clear and concise, always expand acronyms on their first use and use lists and illustrations to make your content easy to understand.
- Avoid phrases such as ‘Click here’ for links, make the text relevant.
Tailoring the Browser Experience
Alongside the content changes listed above it is important to start planning on how you can allow users to tailor your website to match their own unique requirements both on desktop and mobile devices. These can include but are not limited to:
- Changing the font size
- Changing the line and letter spacing
- Changing the font to a font specifically designed for dyslexia
- Changing from colour to Black and White mode or Grayscale Mode
- Highlighting or underlining all links on a website
- Increase or decrease the contrast between different elements of a website.
Accessibility and the Future of the Internet
In a recent article by Sitemorse, it was raised that legal risks could make websites more accessible. A number of organisations in the US have been successfully sued in relation to digital accessibility and 60% of organisations and businesses surveyed in the 2020 State of Digital Accessibility Survey said that they are moving faster towards compliance because of litigation trends.
UK Website Legal Requirements
The Equality Act 2010 currently covers website accessibility in the UK and it states that both public and private sector organisations have a legal obligation not to discriminate on disability. The law states that website owners need to make resonable adjustments to their websites:
"… reasonable adjustments requires service providers to take positive steps to ensure that disabled people can access services. This goes beyond simply avoiding discrimination. It requires service providers to anticipate the needs of potential disabled customers for reasonable adjustments."
Although no organisations have currently been taken to court under the Equality Act, the Royal National Institute of the Blind (RNIB) have settled a number of cases out of court.
How can Purple help my website become accessible?
If you already have a website with Purple then the really good news is that making your website more accessible is not a costly exercise and we will not need to redesign the site. We will simply add in a toolbar that will allow users to customise their visit and this can be done relatively quickly without your site needing to go down. Just give us a call or drop us an email today.
If you do not have a website with Purple but are interested in Website Accessibility and want to find out how we can help why not get in touch, we are always excited to meet businesses and organisations who want to make a difference towards the internet being a more accessible place.