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28 April 2016

Web Accessibility 101

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.

These laws may change so we recommend regularly checking the W3C website.

There are permanent and temporary disabilities. Mental, physical or cognitive disabilities. It’s important to note that many times disabilities come in pairs. Ensuring your website is beneficial for as many people as possible is the best course of action.

web accessibility types of disabilities infographic

We’ve compiled a few ways to ensure your website is accessible for all.

  • 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
  • Consider providing an audio recording of text.
  • Make sure that pictures, content, and merchandise have descriptive alt-text that explains what is there via text for screen readers.
  • Provide an enlarged text option with one of many WordPress plugins.
  • Ensure all hyperlinks are underlined.
  • Add a different font color for hyperlinks, however, do not only rely on the difference of color.
  • 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!
  • Users should be able to tab through your website and navigate without a mouse.

Conclusion

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.

Note: This article has been updated Aug. 2018

 

Amar Trivedi

President and founder of AmDee, Amar provides insight of nonprofit technology through occasional guest blogs for AmDee and others. He has been a software developer and architect since the mid-1990s.