Whether you own a personal blog website that showcases your collection of decadent recipes or you own a business website that intends to take advantage of all the latest digital marketing techniques, it’s critical that your site is ACA compliant. ACA, or the Accessibility Canada Act, encourages a multitude of industries to conform to accessibility rules. This federal law came into place back in 2019 after years of dedicated effort from countless disability activists and various other groups.
With this, site owners that make the effort of adding accessibility will enjoy a higher conversion rate, while owners of private sites will also notice more traffic. Moreover, accessibility changes will all add enormously to the overall user experience your website has to offer all visitors. Therefore, it’s worthwhile to be accessibility compliant, regardless of where in the world you are based.
So, if you’re searching for ways to make your site more accessible, whether you’re located in Canada or elsewhere, we’ve rounded up ten impactful adjustments to consider.
Include Alternative Text To Content
All content on your website that is not written will be tricky for visually impaired individuals to decipher. For this reason, adding alternative text to non-text content like video, audio, and images can make a meaningful difference.
You can also use alternative text like speech files to written content to further enhance accessibility. With this, it’s essential to add alternative text to all images and non-text content on your website.
Headings can enhance the process of navigating a website by assisting with identifying critical elements and skipping over repetitive site components.
Informative headings will make it effortless to navigate your site; users won’t need to scroll up and down several times before they find their way through the website pages.
Headings should outline the document and be informative while still being somewhat concise and easy to understand.
Use Contrast Correctly
For visually impaired and color blind site users, it’s essential for the contrast of text to be sufficient.
The correct contrast ratio to use for the visual representation of text on images and pages is 4.5:1. This ratio excludes large print images, which should have a contrast ratio of 3:1. Moreover, decorative images or logotypes are excluded from both contrast ratio suggestions.
Don’t Rely On Color
It’s also critical not to rely solely on color to relay a meaning to site users. Color choice should not be the only means of conveying information on your website.
Instead, use color as a decorative element while carefully considering contrast as well.
Ensure Links Are Meaningful
It’s not wise to use links like “click here” or other highly concise captions and calls to action.
Ensure all links and action buttons on the website make sense on their own. Be a bit more descriptive in links so that site users can easily navigate your website.
Adding meaning to links is beneficial for accessibility compliance and usability; this modification will enhance the user experience for all traffic.
Add A Focus Indicator
A focus indicator is an outline or visual marker that shows which component or element of a website page is focused on; only one area of a web page can be focused on at any given moment, and this area should be emphasized and apparent.
Including focus, indicators will enhance accessibility dramatically for your website because it allows visually impaired users to see elements of a page with more ease.
You can add focus indicators in the CSS with coding:
outline: 1px solid blue;
Ensure The Website Is Keyboard Accessible
Some websites are only accessible with a mouse or touch screen. But it’s best for websites to be keyboard accessible as well.
All functions on your website should be accessible with a keyboard, and you can test your website by using the tab bar to scroll and assess if the menu, image displays, and form controls are accessible with keyboard buttons.
It’s wise to have a developer make this adjustment to your website if it’s not currently keyboard accessible, as more intricate coding is required.
Accessible Form Inputs
Next, it’s also crucial for all form inputs to be easy to identify with the use of assistive technology. Labeling all form controls can enhance the accessibility of form inputs.
Data Table Identification
You can also make data tables more accessible by marking up each data table’s first row and column. Moreover, be sure to consider color contrast with this website adjustment.
Include Basic Landmarks
Lastly, adding primary landmarks to make it easy to identify specific areas of site pages will also add more accessibility to your website. This adjustment will also make it easier for users to navigate your website, enhancing the user experience as a direct result.
There are also different landmark types, but the three prominent landmarks to include are main search and navigation landmarks. Have these landmarks on each page of your website to boost accessibility.
Boosting User Experience
Most of the adjustments mentioned above will add enormously to your website’s user experience.
User experience is essential for all websites because it determines the success of a website. Unfortunately, sites with lousy user experience will underperform, and this can be especially damaging to business websites.
Boosting user experience will automatically improve conversion rates as roughly 40% of site users exit websites that load slowly or are challenging to navigate.
Things that can boost user experience apart from the adjustments listed above are quality, fresh content, a functional interface, ease of use, automated responses, and human-based interaction.
That said, enhancing user experience while conforming to all accessibility regulations is crucial, even if they don’t yet apply in your region. With activist groups making such impressionable strides, we can all agree that more countries will soon be on board with online accessibility rules.
Nevertheless, if you are struggling to modify your website for accessibility, you can rely on an expert developer to assist with the changes.