The World Health Organization estimates over 1 billion people experience disability. These people may encounter challenges when visiting websites that aren’t accessible. Those with hearing impairments can’t watch videos to learn about products if they don’t have captions. Meanwhile, color-blind people can’t navigate websites where they perceive every element to have a similar color.
There are many disabilities out there. As a result, it’s impossible to guess which design, word, or code choices will hinder someone from finding the products and information they need. Use the following 16 resources to make your website accessible to everyone. This unrestricted access keeps visitors and customers coming back and helps you attract new ones.
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1. W3C’s WCAG quick reference guide
The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) shares the standards website owners should follow to keep the web evolving. They wrote a reference guide that lists accessibility terms and explains their importance. Teams that know about web accessibility can use the guide to remember what they should do without reading thousands of words. When you use W3C’s reference guide, you follow the most credible source in the space.
The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) are principles to make the internet more useful to everyone. The W3C establishes them with the help of individuals and governments worldwide. Their reference guide is constantly updated, meaning you can trust it to provide the best advice to make your website accessible for everyone.
The guide is skimmable. You can quickly jump between sections and see when W3C adds updated items. Visit the page frequently to see if there are new ways to improve your content.
2. W3C’s guide to video accessibility
Most people prefer watching brand videos over other types of content. W3C wrote a guide on making videos accessible for people with hearing, speech, and visual impairments. You lose potential customers when these people can’t view your videos.
The resource covers the entire video production process. Once you’re ready to produce, apply its lessons to create high-quality and accessible descriptions, captions, and video content anyone can enjoy. Each of these steps has its own page with links to even more resources. Making an accessible video is easy, even if you’re following these principles for the first time.
Try to apply most of its tips. Fewer people will leave your website because they can now watch the videos. More viewers mean greater chances of turning video viewers into fans or customers.
3. A11Y Project’s checklist
The A11Y Project teaches companies how to make their websites more inclusive. Their WCAG compliance checklist helps you build a website anyone can read or listen to. Instead of telling you to do the hundreds of potential accessibility changes, it presents the most impactful actions you can take.
Items comply with two of the three levels of accessibility compliance:
- The A level covers the bare minimum you should take to make your website easy to navigate.
- The AA level has actions many public bodies and governmental sites must take to make their websites compliant.
The checklist divides actions into categories, like audio, appearance, and color. Each task has a dropdown menu with instructions and prompts that explain how to do them. The explanations are concise, actionable, and easy to follow.
Doing every task will make your website more pleasant for anyone to navigate and will ensure that people with disabilities will be able to work with you after learning about your products or services.
AccessiBe is an accessibility testing software that analyzes whether your website is accessible. If it’s not, their AI adjusts your website’s look and content so that people with disabilities can use it.
The process is automatic. You paste the code they give you into your website and wait 48 hours. After that time, your website will meet screen reading, keyboard navigation, and web accessibility laws.
The software re-scans your website every day to detect visual or code changes you made in the last 24 hours. It will adjust these elements if anything is not accessible. You can edit your website knowing AccessiBe always supports you.
AudioEye is a dashboard that shows accessibility problems on your site and offers advice on how to fix them. They have 15+ years in the space, so they have the expertise and knowledge to help you solve all of your accessibility issues.
Their tools and professional counsel can also help you avoid legal problems. They spot potential issues and help you solve them before people see them. If you already have a legal challenge, their team will act as an advisor and help you work through it. This support means you’ll never be alone if you face a lawsuit.
User1st does website audits that spot accessibility issues. You can learn to fix these problems by yourself or let their team of experts train you on how to do so. Training your team in this area allows them to assist customers with specific accessibility needs.
This knowledge also means you won’t always have to rely on tools, plugins, or experts to make your site accessible—you can do it all yourself. You can use the money you save for further training or more urgent tasks. If you do need to hire someone to improve your accessibility, you’d have the knowledge to tell if they’re doing a good job.
7. Perkins Access
Perkins Access reviews website sketches and shares tips to make the finished website accessible. The review process starts early, before you write a single line of code. Doing this as the first step and not after launching your site means you’ll save money and time redesigning a website that isn’t accessible.
Their mockup review process also helps you choose the right font size, colors, images, and CTAs, among other web elements. These guidelines ensure your website is accessible from the get-go. They also allow you to guide users toward your page’s most relevant sections, leading to more sales.
8. TPGI’s Colour Contrast Analyser (CCA)
You can use TPGI’s free Colour Contrast Analyzer to ensure your website’s colors contrast well. When colors are too similar, people struggle to distinguish elements and read text. People with visual impairments have an even more difficult time and are often unable to use your site.
Overlooking these individuals’ needs means ignoring the WCAG’s required contrast levels. Companies can face legal issues because of this. Meanwhile, those in the private sector will miss out on potential customers. If a person can’t navigate your website, they can’t inquire about your products.
The contrast checker makes your website accessible by telling you if two colors are too similar. You can experiment with similar hues, tones, and shades of your added colors. This lets you find a color like the one you want to use but that contrasts enough with other colors to be clearly different.
9. #NoMouse Challenge
Some people have disabilities that make using a mouse challenging. The #NoMouse Challenge tests if you can use your website features like menus, buttons, and dialogs with just your keyboard.
A keyboard is all you need to simulate a mouse-free page session. Press Tab to see if the page transitions from one link, form, or button to the next. Or press Shift + Tab to see if it moves to the previous one. If you fail the test, you can scroll to the bottom of the page to find solutions to navigation issues.
10. Harvard’s caption and description principles
Harvard’s brief guide explains how to use transcriptions, captions, and descriptions so people who can’t hear videos can still watch them. Ignoring these guidelines makes it more difficult for people with disabilities to watch your videos and costs you potential customers.
But these principles don’t only help people with disabilities. According to Verizon, 92% of consumers watch videos with their phone’s sound off. You can use captions to capture the attention of those who can’t hear well or simply wish to watch on mute.
The guide has links to comprehensive articles that explain how to include captions and descriptions. These articles include step-by-step guidance on how to do it yourself and tips on hiring someone to do it for you. They cover the most common video and audio formats, so their suggestions will help you with your project.
The guide has a section with three questions you can ask yourself to see if your video is accessible. Apply the page’s lessons until the answer to every question is positive.
11. Inclusive Design for a Digital World: Designing with Accessibility in Mind by Reginé Gilbert
Regine Gilbert’s book presents tools and steps to design an accessible app or website. This information is based on her ten years of experience working as a user experience designer and researching digital accessibility and inclusive design.
The book includes case studies that walk you through accessibility problems. You learn the nuances behind these challenges, what causes them, and how an expert solves them. This level of detail gives you a comprehensive understanding of these situations. By the time you encounter them in your workdays, you’ll be able to solve them confidently.
12. Accessibility for Everyone by Laura Kalbag
Web designer and developer Laura Kalbag teaches you how to plan and test accessible design in Accessibility for Everyone. She first summarizes the accessibility needs and landscape. Then, Kalbag provides more advanced instructions on how to write accessible code.
Writing accessible code is necessary because some people rely on software to navigate websites. This software reads the page’s code to know where to move. If your code isn’t accessible, assistive technologies won’t detect elements such as menus, buttons, or sliders, so people with disabilities won’t be able to access them, even if someone using a mouse or keyboard can.
13. Web Accessibility Specialist (WAS) Certification
The WAS certification exam tests people’s knowledge of advanced accessibility topics. It goes beyond basic accessibility rules. For instance, they test whether the person can identify accessibility issues in the code and whether they can predict the consequences of a design decision.
It’s possible to not answer every question correctly. If that’s the case, look back at the questions you didn’t answer well, research these topics, and implement what you learn to provide a more pleasant website experience for your visitors.
The test is challenging. Passing it allows you to show stakeholders that you can direct the company’s accessibility efforts. This trust may make them more likely to invest in the projects you pitch.
14. The University of Illinois’ Information Accessibility Design and Policy (IADP) course
Sometimes you need more hands-on guidance to help you master tricky subjects like accessibility design. The IADP course starts by teaching basic accessibility topics like design principles. It then moves into advanced concepts like emerging media-rich design trends. The comprehensive syllabus makes the course suitable for those who need to get up to speed with accessibility needs.
The program is divided into three areas, taking you from basic concepts to advanced tactics as you progress. This sequence lets you learn about a topic, apply its lessons, and test each area’s tips. It also allows people newly introduced to web accessibility to grasp the fundamentals before diving into complex topics.
15. Article on the Downsides of Person-First Language (PFL)
Disability rights activist Emily Ladau argues that person-first language may offend people with disabilities. This is because person-first language separates the person from the disability. For example, you would call a person who can’t hear “a person who is deaf,” leading with the word person and then saying the disability.
Ladau asserts that, while this wording aims to fight stigma, it actually amplifies it. It implies someone can only be a whole person if you separate them from their disability. A better alternative is to use identity-first language. A person who is deaf would be a “deaf person” in this language. According to Landau, identity-first language is not derogatory.
Ladau has found that deaf and autistic people prefer it when others call them autistic or deaf. This is because these traits are part of their identity. Separating them from the person means treating them as shameful.
The essay shares actionable advice to replace person-first language with identity-first language. It also provides principles to follow whenever you’re interacting with these people.
16. eLearning Accessibility: Improving the learning experience
Omniplex’s webinar discusses how to create online courses anyone can learn from. The lessons come from their experience training professionals in the learning and development space. As a result, the webinar teaches the impairments people should keep in mind when designing their course.
The company partner with companies that provide tools to help experts in the space:
- Creating online courses
- Managing learning material
- Creating virtual learning experiences
This broad knowledge of what helps people learn allows Omniplex to easily answer complex questions.
Use Vyond to create accessible videos
You can use Vyond to animate engaging videos that grab and maintain every visitor’s attention. Our asset gallery has hundreds of props, characters, and sounds you can use to create any situation. Adding familiar scenarios to your courses or videos helps viewers put themselves in the character’s shoes. When they face a similar situation, they’ll act according to what they’ve learned.
Once you have your video ready, follow the resources from this article to include captions, sounds, transcriptions, and other elements that make a video accessible.