website accessibility should not be an afterthought or ignored

Web AccessabilityIt is a requirement that all government related websites meet section 508 accessibility guidelines, and your business website should as well. Accessibility is a right, not a privilege.

Common visual problems are due to cataracts, glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration, corneal opacity, diabetic retinopathy, childhood blindness, trachoma and onchocerclasis.

There are many ways to help make your website more accessible to those with disabilities.

Semantic HTML

Way back in the later part of the 1990’s I took a web design class at Wake Tech focusing on HTML coding. I remember the instructor was site impaired and stressed how important accessibility was and that it should not be ignored when developing a website. I have not forgotten that and accessibility is very important to me and I wanted to learn as much as I could in regards to website accessibility.

I have taken measures to make my website, Inspired-Evolution.com to be accessible. For the site I made sure I develop using semantic HTML markup, aria roles, alt text for images and following WCAG 2.0 guidelines.

website coders should also make use of the built-in HTML5 landmark tags such as:

<header>
<footer>
<aside>
<article>
<nav>
<main>
<section>

Image alt tags

All images on your site should contain an alt tag. The alt tag should explain what the image is about if the image adds meaning to the content. If the image is just used for backgrounds purposes it does not need an alt tag.

ARIA tags

ARIA stands for Accessible Rich Internet Applications, and can be used as an attribute along with HTML to give meaning to an element. An example would be:

<span role="button">
<div role="banner">
<a aria-label=“Read More about this great blog posts” href=“/path/to/your/page”>Read More

Accessibility testing tools

Some of my favorite tools to test for web site accessibility are the HTML5 Validator, CSS3 Validator, Chrome Vox, and Chrome Accessibility Developer Tool. Other effective accessibility testing tools are these screen readers: Voice Over for Mac computers, and Jaws for PC computers.

As far as CMS (Content Management Systems) platforms go, both WordPress and Drupal offer advanced accessibility features

Learning more about Accessibility

I have come across several good online resources to learn about website accessibility. Some of them are:

Conclusion

Accessibility should not be a privilege, it should be a right for those to be able to access websites just as those without disabilities can access digital content. Currently many websites are putting the business at a risk for a legal lawsuit for not being accessible. There are many benefits to making your digital content accessible. The most important being it is simply the right thing to do and well worth the effort.

All content belongs to Bruce Gilbert

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