Search engines aren’t the only thing you should be thinking about when optimizing your website accessibility. In fact, you shouldn’t be thinking about them at all. (Okay, that’s a lie. But you shouldn’t be writing for search engines. Write for people.) Along these lines, you should optimize your website for all people, not just those who are fully able to read and hear any content that is posted on your site. In fact, according to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), it’s the law. You could face a penalty, and this especially matters for websites that are connected to a physical location, like a store or an organization. But don’t worry – here are some of the most important tips for optimizing your website accessibility for those with disabilities.
1. Optimize Images
For those with visual impairments, it’s important that they be able to understand all of the content on a web page. This includes images and other non-text graphics. With the use of screen readers, the visually impaired are able to have a website scan and read to them. For images, alt tags are a wonderful and necessary way for the graphics to be represented by a screen reader. Alt tags should be used for:
- Image maps
- Graphical buttons
2. Optimize Videos
Captions. If you have a video embedded into a page of your website, it’s a good idea to include captions for any part of the video that has audio. For those with hearing impairments, this is an incredible help.
Audio Descriptions. Likewise, for videos, having voiceover or audio descriptions is a great idea for optimizing your content for those with visual impairments. If a video is important enough to place on your website, you want to make sure that you are not excluding any potential audience that you may have.
3. Read the Guidelines
If you are a business owner or a web developer, it’s a great idea to read the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). You will find a complete set of guidelines for optimizing a website for those with disabilities. In short, the site should be perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust. Stay abreast of any changes to these guidelines and make sure you continually update your site for optimal readability.
When operating a business, it’s so important to be inclusive. For online matters, this means optimizing your website accessibility for any and all possible users. In the long run, this will translate to more viewers, and thus, more customers.