The importance of making your website accessible to all

Photo of a website with screen reading keyboard

An accessible website is designed to make navigation easier for those with disabilities. However, there is much more to the positive impact it can have on users than just a few features. 

Now that it’s 2022, it’s time to make your website more accessible. For your online community and customers, accessibility is one of the most important things you can do. Websites designed for accessibility are those made with technologies that simplify navigation for persons with disabilities. 

Building an accessible website is the first step to making it more inclusive of the digital community and will make your site a more enjoyable experience for everyone. Unfortunately, not all websites are equipped to provide an accessible experience for every visitor. Each day, millions of people use the internet, and many of them need accessible technology to do so. 

Implementing these tools and resources can be a struggle, but it is well worth it. To build an accessible website, let’s discuss why it’s important and how to make it easy for everyone to use: 

What are the reasons for accessibility?

Websites provide a first impression of your business to potential customers. Internet access may be the only way for users with disabilities to interact with your company and the only impression they receive. Adding accessibility features to your website will improve the user experience for every visitor. Providing an inclusive experience for all users means accommodating everyone’s needs. An accessible website allows everyone to enjoy and engage with the website equally. 

In order to be accessible, the website should be able to meet the needs of people with various disabilities. Fortunately, adding accessibility tools to your web platform is easier than you might think. 

The first steps to accessibility.

Making a website accessible isn’t as cumbersome as you think, but it is vital to making every user feel welcome. Adding features to your website can be challenging, but most are relatively simple.

You can still make a step in the right direction, even if you’re not very experienced with web design. For example, adding high contrast to the colors (this makes the text easier to read) and adding alt-text for pictures and videos are easy changes to make. Despite feeling like small changes, they enhance everyone’s user experience significantly. 

Some items to touch on in making your website more accessible include:

  • Images should have alt text added
  • Users should be able to enlarge font sizes
  • Make sure you color contrast is strong
  • Test Keyboard-Only Navigation
  • Be aware of contrast sensitivity
  • Make sure your URLs are descriptive
  • Make multimedia and video accessible
  • Do not use placeholder text in forms
  • Utilize ARIA roles
  • Reduce the use of tables

If doing all this for your website seems daunting, there are free and premium plugins available to aid in the accessibility of your website.  

I am currently testing a website tool called Accessibe on my website to find a possible solution for clients with existing designs that might not be ready for a complete accessibility website redesign. 

Other plugins I have used on websites include:

Online resources are also readily available to help businesses and professionals learn more about the need to create accessible web experiences:

What I learned from working with a visually impaired client.

WebCami Site Design partnered with Creative Inclusions to build a website to promote the consulting services of owner Peggy Martinez. Creative Inclusions works with designers and planners to implement indoor and outdoor wayfinding and walkability strategies using braille and tactile interactive maps, diagrams and signage, high contrast and tactile ground surfaces, and smart technologies. Peggy allowed me to observe how her screenreader works on the internet. It was a valuable learning experience on accessibility, and I continue to provide Peggy with my web design services.

Do you want to talk about making your website more accessible?

Even though it might seem challenging to implement accessibility features on your website, it is crucial so that all users can interact with your business or organization. I would be happy to chat with you about options.

If your needs exceed my services for accessibility, I also have an excellent contact who is an accessibility expert that I can refer you to. I’m happy to make that connection. 

Just reach out if you want to discuss your website and accessibility.

Cami MacNamara

Owner/Designer at WebCami Site Design. Providing web design services in West Seattle since 2002. Facebook / Twitter / Instagram