Our passion for and journey towards delivering the most accessible web solutions possible involves constant learning. It was kicked into high gear fairly recently, when an e-commerce client of ours was served with notice of a pending lawsuit surrounding their site being inaccessible to sight-disabled users. While we were able to respond immediately, by launching efforts to audit, test, and resolve those accessibility issues listed in the lawsuit, our client is not alone. The number of website accessibility lawsuits filed in federal court practically tripled from 814 in 2017 to at least 2,258 in 2018. In January of 2019, even Beyoncé was served with an accessibility lawsuit from a user who claims her website is impossible for blind and low-vision people to use. What does accessibility actually refer to though, when it comes to a website?
- Testing your site to identify areas that require improvement
- Consider running each page through a free testing tool, such as the WAVE Chrome browser extension
- Adding alt text to accompany any images you include on your site
- A picture may be worth a thousand words, but if you can't see it, you aren't getting the message. Users with low vision often make use of a talking browser to "read" a site. When a talking browser lands on an image, it looks for alt text that it can read aloud. If it finds none, it will often just say "image."
- Consider your color and shape choices
- Don't indicate importance based on color alone. Be sure to use icons, underlining linked text, or other to ensure people who cannot easily distinguish colors can still understand where the important content is.
- Try using a color-testing tool like the Chrome plugin Spectrum. This enables you to analyze your web pages and simulate color blindness scenarios. You could also use Userway’s Contrast Checker to test your text and background colors and see if they are WCAG 2.1 AA or AAA compliant.
- Support keyboard navigation from start to finish
- Not everyone is able to always operate a mouse! Make sure you provide a way for users who rely soley on their keyboards to navigate your site.