15 tips to making the internet accessible

In 2015 we had the great pleasure of working with Citizens Online, TinMouse animations and DAC on a video for Global Accessibility Awareness Day. With new EU accessibility directives and updated WCAG guidelines it’s easy to get overwhelmed with what you should be doing.

Our short video will take you through some accessibility tips to help you make your website and the internet a more accessible and inclusive place

15 tips to make technology work for everyone.

  1. If you are commissioning an app, software or website, make accessibility part of the contract – refer to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines version 2 (WCAG) and British Standard 8878. Ideally, include disabled users in your testing.
  2. If you are using an online platform to create your website, use ‘accessible’ themes and plugins, and keep the following in mind:
  3. Design pages so that users may customise their experience of them – changing colours, the size of text, or buttons. Use responsive layouts that will work on different devices
  4. Always let users know where they are and how they get to somewhere else. Create alternative routes to suit different requirements, like a ‘skip to main content’ link.
  5. Make sure that every action that can be performed using a mouse can be achieved using the keyboard alone. Keyboard only users need to see where they are at all times when they navigate using the TAB key, and tabbing should follow a logical order. Test how easy it is to navigate using only the TAB, ENTER, SPACE and ARROW keys.
  6. Give the user control – provide a pause button, and don’t set audio or video to play automatically. Ever get frustrated by moving objects, adverts popping up…? It isn’t just annoying – flashing content can cause seizures, while some people with cognitive impairments find it really hard to concentrate if there are distractions.
  7. Choose a video player that allows you to add captions, and provide a text transcript, to make audio and video content accessible. Include descriptions of any important visual information as well as speech.
  8. If an image is important, contains text or is a link, explain this with ‘alternative text’ that screen reader software can read out to users with visual impairments.
  9. Is your text in easy-to-understand language? Use short, simple sentences to aid readability and engage a wider audience.
  10. Give each page a title, and organise the text using headings, paragraphs and lists. Add ‘mark up’ to enable easier navigation and explain features to people who can’t see them – this applies to documents in Word or PDFs as well as webpages.
  11. Make sure that links stand out clearly from surrounding text and let users know if the link will open in a new window or download a document. Links need to be concise and descriptive so that if they are read on their own, people will still know where they go.
  12. Test text and background colour combinations and contrast online to ensure text can be easily read by people who are colour-blind or have impaired vision. 
  13.  If your webpage ‘times out’ before people are able to complete forms, this can be a very frustrating experience – Give visitors time to extend their session if they wish.
  14. Explain accessibility improvements you’ve made and why, in an accessibility statement and provide easy ways for people to contact you if they are having difficulty. 
  15. Spam protection like CAPTCHA may shut out potential customers not just spam robots. Please use alternatives [to CAPTCHA] – such as text-based logic problems, or simple human user confirmations.

If you need any help in making your website accessible to everyone, get in touch. We’d be happy to discuss training, consultancy and a roadmap of support to help you reach as many customers as possible.

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Update to blog post September 2018 – WCAG 2.1

Please note that WCAG 2.0 has been updated and replaced with WCAG 2.1. The three levels remain the same, A, AA and AAA. Our blog post details the changes What is WCAG 2.1