When thinking about accessibility, we mainly think about people with a disability being able to navigate our website. This is an important focus but providing a better user experience is important not only for users with a disability but for everyone.
Thinking more broadly about making your website’s content accessible in multiple ways, to suit a broader audience, can help you to accommodate everyone’s needs.
Changing the page structure, thinking about terminology, improving readability, labelling images correctly, or even something as simple as making it easier for your readers to share one of your blog posts or pages are good improvements.
Your website should also work for older and younger users, non-English speaking users and people with a temporary impairment. It might sound strange, but someone with a fuzzy head from a hangover or the flu who is trying to use a site will also benefit from it being more accessible.
At Community Business Bureau, we use accessibility tools on our own website and on websites we have developed for our clients. They are free and easy to install so you don’t need a web developer in-house. With basic web management knowledge, you can do it all by yourself! Here they are:
- Userway accessibility button: It is an all-in one tool that does wonders. It’s a small icon that sits on your site and with a one click menu, allows you to:
- Desaturate the colours of your site making it all black and white, so it’s easier for people who are colour blind or have a visual impairment to read it
- Activate keyboard navigation for people with a physical disability to navigate your website with just the keyboard
- Increase the size of the cursor so people can navigate the site without losing the cursor
- Increase the size of the text to various sizes, making it easier for users with poor eye sight
- Change the contrast of the site (you can select from three different contrast options) helping colour blind users and people with a visual impairment to read the site
- Highlight where links are on the site, making clickable areas obvious for users
- Change to more legible fonts making it easier for people with degenerating eye sight or general sight problems
- Read the content of your site out loud for people with a visual impairment or for anyone who prefers listening instead of reading
- Google translator: translates your page to over 100 different languages – you choose which languages to include. It takes only half an hour to install in a straightforward process of four easy steps. Follow the instructions on https://translate.google.com/manager/website/.
As a non-native English speaker myself, the translation to Spanish proved to be quite good!
- Sharethis: https://www.sharethis.com/platform/share-buttons/. This is one of the most versatile tools to share content from your website to a destination of your user’s choice, increasing control over when and where they read. It can be installed on your whole site or just on the pages that are “shareable” like blog post pages. Here’s an example of how it looks on one of our client’s sites: https://www.poliosa.org.au/news/2018/9/24/my-polio-story-lynda-shaw. Sharethis allows you to add specific share buttons and/or a generic share button that expands to over 30 different options of social media channels on which to share your content. It’s a handy unobtrusive feature.
- Hemingway app: A tool that helps you improve the readability of your text by highlighting lengthy, complex sentences and common errors. Paste your text and edit away. It certainly makes it quicker for writers and even better for bloggers. hemingwayapp.com
If you need help with making your site more accessible, or building an accessible site that’s easy to manage yourself, we are here to help. Call us on 1300 763 505