10 ways to make your content accessible | Life of a Blind Girl
Everyone has different levels of vision. And people use a wide range of assistive technology. For example, as screen readers or magnification software. It’s important to make your content accessible to everyone.
Follow these 10 tips to be more inclusive:
Label all links and buttons
Links and buttons should be labelled to say exactly what they are. For example ‘home’ or ‘search’. Then blind and visually impaired people can determine what they are. Either by a screen-reader or the person seeing it using magnification software.
Screen-readers do not read graphics as they cannot interpret them. They can also be very hard for people with low vision to see, labelling them solves this issue.
Labelling links and buttons lets blind and visually impaired people know where the link will take them. By labelling, it means that people can navigate around your website easily.
Label comment forms
If you want users to leave a comment on your site, make sure that your comment forms are labelled. Screen-readers don’t read things such as ‘edit field’ or ‘radio button’. Instead, make sure that each box is labelled correctly. For example, ‘name,’ ‘email address’ or ‘comment’.
Use a good size font throughout
This doesn’t just only help blind and visually impaired people. It can help sighted people as well. Having a good, clear font means that your content is easy to read.
Have a dark font against a light background
Avoid using white, use sans-serif fonts instead. This improve accessibility and readability. It also looks good in terms of branding as well.
Have an audio option when using captcha verification
If you have captcha verification on your website, look at the possibility of adding an audio option. Screen-readers do not read the graphics. Adding an audio option gives an accessible alternative. And maintains your site’s security.
If there is no audio option, then often blind and visually impaired people like myself click off the site. As there is often no other alternative way of completing such tasks.
Add alt text to images
This is probably the most important one, I cannot stress this enough! The number of images that do not have alt text on blogs or websites is ridiculous. It’s such a simple thing to do and can make such a difference to a blind or visually impaired person.
Alt text, also known as alternative text, is a written description of the image. Describing what’s in the image helps a person with a visual impairment to interpret it in their own way. Consequently being more engaged in your posts. Please make sure that you add alt text in the alt text box, rather than the description box.
Many people think that the alt text box is there to improve SEO. While this is the case, it can be invaluable to screen-reader users. Why not try and make a photo description that still links with SEO? Please do not just put your keywords in the alt text box. As this serves no purpose to blind and visually impaired people and we still have no idea what the image shows.
If you don’t know how to add alt text, then add a photo description underneath images in your posts and pages instead.
Both are really easy to do so please consider doing one or the other.
I often get asked how descriptive image descriptions need to be. And I answer this by saying describe exactly what’s in the picture and be as informative as you can.
Blind and visually impaired people often navigate websites using shortcut keys. Using headings means that we can navigate around your blog easily and efficiently. It lets us skip through post titles and other aspects. Adding headings also helps with readability.
Make link text something relevant
Rather than just putting ‘click here’, put something like ‘check out my post on…’. Then people know what sort of page or website they’ll be directed to if they click the link.
Avoid using video and audio that starts automatically
It may look nice and sound good. But this can make it very hard for people with a visual impairment to navigate your website. If the video or audio that starts automatically, people who use screen-readers have to listen to this as well as their screen-reader. This can be very difficult to do. It can cause problems for people with other disabilities as well.
Add an option for people to click to start it if they want to, rather than it starting automatically.
Test on different devices and browsers
Accessibility and the look of your site can often differ on different browsers and devices. Make sure that all of the features work on different browsers and devices. By doing this, it means that people don’t have to test several browsers to find the best one. Instead, they can just use their preferred browser.
Many people read blogs whilst on the go so here’s a top tip: make sure your website is mobile friendly!