Web Accessibility Best Practices
Payton Henry, November 14, 2022
Accessibility is an increasingly important issue in many aspects of our lives, and your website is no exception. Web accessibility means that websites, tools, and technologies are designed and developed so that people with disabilities can perceive, understand, navigate, interact, and contribute to the web.
Statistics about disabled users
19.9 million users* have difficulty lifting or grasping. This could impact their use of a mouse and keyboard. 15.2 million users* have a cognitive, mental or emotional impairment. 8.1 million users* have a vision impairment and may rely on a screen magnifier, screen reader, or may have a form of color blindness. 7.6 million users* have a hearing impairment. They may rely on transcripts for audio and video based media. (*= in the US)
To build a website that is truly inclusive and accessible, you need to factor in all disabilities that can affect access to the web including auditory, cognitive, neurological, physical, speech, and visual. By following some of the best practices below, you can improve on your site’s accessibility.
Top 5 Best Practices for Web Accessibility
1. Navigational tools
- Don’t rely on color as a navigational tool
- Content should be well organized to help users navigate effectively
- Clear page titles and descriptive section headings
- Implement a skip navigation feature
2. Text alternatives for non-text content and audio descriptions for visual details
- All photos should contain alt text embedded in code (more complicated images contain long form captions)
- Any image with text directly in the photo should also have the same text in the alt text.
- Proved descriptions of data where it is represented on charts/diagrams
- Include transcripts for any promotional videos, webinars, and podcasts
3. Operable UI and navigation
- Make all functionality that is available by mouse also available by keyboard.
- Ensure users have enough time to read and utilize the content provided
- Create content that doesn’t cause physical reactions to users (flash warnings, ability to turn off animation or sound, etc.)
4. Understandable information and UI
- Display text that is readable and understandable
- Design so that content appears in a predictable way, for example, navigation and general site organization doesn’t change from page to page.
- Aid users in preventing mistakes – error messages, autocorrect, etc.
- When displaying forms, ensure that proper labels exist for each field, and the labels are bound to the input fields.
- When displaying tabular Data, ensure that the proper column and row headings are used so that sight impaired users can have proper context to the table fields
5. Content is compatible with current and future user tools.
- Be aware of your users and their needs to ensure they are being met.
- Use Lighthouse, WAVE, or other tools to identify accessibility issues and leave room on your product roadmap to make meaningful changes. Also, include accessibility requirements in new builds.
- ARIA labels for JS heavy functionality
- In some cases, web accessibility may be required by law. It’s essential to know of all applicable laws in your area and worldwide.
It’s important to consider these best practices when designing your site, and to routinely audit your site to make sure it’s functioning properly, you’re abiding by the accessibility laws, and all users have a positive experience every time they visit your site. By implementing some accessibly best practices, you may even improve usability for all site users. For more information on accessibility within AEM click here
If you need help with an accessibility audit of your site or want advice on how to make your site more compliant, 3|SHARE can help! Contact us.
Payton Henry is a Marketing Specialist at 3|SHARE. She enjoys the flexible environment 3|SHARE affords, and learning new things from her co-workers. Outside of work she enjoys walks with her dog and exploring new places.