Crafting Your Website for Inclusive Access: Essential Design Tips!

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Have you ever thought about how much you rely on the internet? From cooking a new recipe to shopping for trendy new winter fashion, you use the internet for almost every task in your daily life. Even manufacturing and labor intensive jobs rely heavily on the internet. Unfortunately, a significant part of the population is left out of this experience. When you make your website more accessible, you get to tap into 1.3 billion users who suffer from significant disability. 

Try out these design tips to make your website more inclusive:

1. Make sure your website is keyboard navigable

The first step to making your website more accessible is to support keyboard navigation. Individuals who are visually impaired or have some form of moor disability can’t use the mouse properly. They would have a hard time clicking on the download button or navigating to the ‘Contact Us’ page on your website.

Keyboard navigation allows users to interact with every element of the website by hitting the tab key. Make sure your website can be navigated with the combination of Shift, Tab and Enter keys and has an intuitive design that requires the least bit of effort.

2. Adhere to WCAG Guidelines

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines(WCAG) provides you with a set of best practices and guidelines to make your website more accessible for users with disabilities. WCAG stands on 13 guidelines and each one of them has testable criteria. When you conform to each criteria, you get graded at three levels: A, AA and AAA. To increase accessibility for your site, you can aim to achieve a higher success criteria.

3. Integrate useful alt text for images

If you are a website designer or developer, you already know about the importance of alt text for search engine crawlers. However, alt text can also help to make your website more accessible. When you use accurate and descriptive alt texts, the screen reader on web browsers can describe those images to visually impaired individuals and make their browsing experience a bit more colorful.

While writing alt text for images, don’t just describe the image; explain how it relates to the content of the page as well. If the image is purely decorative, you can skip the context explanation.  

4. Get rid of hover effects

Hover effects look amazing and can make your website more aesthetically pleasant. However, they leave out people who rely on keyboard navigation and screen readers. With hover features, actionable buttons and items are hidden away and hence can’t be clicked verbally.

5. Use keywords along with color

Color is a useful indicator that helps highlight certain actions and clicks. It’s a visual cue for all users. However, color is not enough for people with colorblindness and low vision. So, apart from color, use keywords to highlight actionable buttons and clicks. For instance, apart from wrapping the border of the purchase button with a bright color, use text like “Buy Now”. If text clutters the space, you can even use popular and recognizable icons like a dollar sign or a cart icon.

When you want to make your website more accessible and inclusive, you aren’t just working from a position of empathy. You also get to add a completely new pool of users who have been unable to browse through your products and services. Making your website more accessible can directly affect your bottom line.

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