28 April 2016

Web Accessibility 101

In 1973, Section 8 of the Rehabilitation Act put laws in place to make the internet more accessible for the 55 million Americans with disabilities. If an organization receives funding from the federal government, they must meet certain accessibility standards. We’ve compiled a few ways to ensure your website is accessible for all.

Approximately 15% of Americans have reported having a difficulty hearing. In order to assist these users, make sure that all video and audio clips include captions, subtitles or some sort of transcript. Youtube has a helpful tutorial on including subtitles in your videos, here. Additionally, remember that some of your audience may be one of the many Americans with a visual impairment. For your colorblind audience, make sure that pictures, content and merchandise have descriptive text that explain the color and texture, if necessary. For those who have trouble seeing, provide an enlarged text option with one of many WordPress plugins. Meanwhile, a person with down syndrome, dyslexia, vision impairment, or even ADHD can get discouraged or disoriented when they come across a block of words. Consider providing an audio recording of text for this demographic.

Make sure to keep it simple with headers, hyperlinks, and forms. Instead of making a hyperlink a different color, add a highlight option or underline the link. Also, make it clear that the word or phrase will take them to another page.  Check out this before-and-after demonstration to see the difference it can make!

The best way to approach web accessibility is to put yourself in the shoes of someone who has needs.Consider conducting a survey with your users about tools that they would find useful and go from there. To get a glimpse at the diverse array of users and their needs on the internet, check out their stories here.

What accessibility challenges has your organization faced? Let us know in the comments below, or tweet us @AmDeeLLC! Also, be sure to check our presentation on #a11y and how to make your site more accessible.


Amar Trivedi

President and founder of AmDee, Amar provides insight of nonprofit technology through occasional guest blogs for AmDee and others