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How to Make Your Website More Accessible

Whether you’re a solopreneur, a blogging enthusiast, or a major company using your website to reach more customers, your entire web presence heavily depends on how well you treat your website. User experience is defined by so many different factors that it’s not too strange that many companies and individuals fail to keep an eye on all those moving parts when crafting and managing their website. One particular quality that can make your website more user-friendly for different groups of people is its level of accessibility.

That can mean a range of different things. For example, how easy it is to find content on your site, how many ads and popups you have on any given page, or how well you use color to make your website easier to navigate and stay consistent with your brand. These are just some elements that can make your site more or less accessible. To increase your website’s accessibility and thus make it more user-friendly, you should focus on the following factors in your strategy.

Give your website a voice – literally

Having options is the theme of modern living. Customers like having choices, so if they’d prefer to listen to a book, they’ll download the audio version rather than reading the original. Then again, people with visual impairments need this perk to enjoy most of online content and understand the latest trends and market changes. 

Luckily, you can use text-to-speech software on your website and let it convert your written content into audio recordings to allow all users to enjoy it without issues. Integrating the software is fairly simple, and it will easily offer an alternative to your website visitors for greater accessibility and overall convenience. 

Make sure your global audience can enjoy your site

Website localization is becoming a more relevant topic today, since people like the freedom to enjoy content in their own native language. This helps people connect with brands with ease, and understand their offers better, and they still might feel more comfortable with a customized, native version of your site. Why? Because research shows that over 72% of customers spend their time on sites in their own language, and they’d rather buy from said sites.

That said, simple app translations will no longer cut it, as trust can only be established on sites that convey cultural relevance and language nuances to their target audience in their own language. This trend has increased the relevance of professional Chinese to English translation services and vice versa, so that brands and individuals can better connect with their target audience in their mother tongue. Since the two markets and languages are vastly different, proper, human translations are far more valid than those of apps and machines. 

Make your site keyboard-friendly

Most people are used to navigating any site with the help of a mouse, but this is actually a very narrow-minded approach to web design. In fact, when someone with a mobility issue tries to access your site, they might find it impossible to navigate in case they cannot use the mouse at all, which is precisely why improving accessibility is necessary by making your site keyboard-accessible, too.

All of your website’s links, buttons, and forms should be accessible with the help of the “Tab” button on your keyboard, which will allow users to avoid the mouse and simplify their navigation through your site. Check if your menu and all of the offered subcategories can be accessed with the keyboard, too. And finally, make sure that those long content pieces you have can be scrolled through with the keyboard with the help of jump lists. 

Purposeful color selection

Not everyone has a perfect eye for appealing design, but you should definitely use your color palette for more than just to please your own aesthetic preferences. In fact, for people who are colorblind or have any issues distinguishing between certain hues, how you distribute colors on your website and combine colors with text can completely disrupt their experience if done poorly, or it can help them enjoy your site more and easily navigate your menu.

It’s always safest to choose contrasting colors that aren’t overly bright. That way, you’ll avoid causing issues for people with photosensitivity, while the readability of all of your site’s text will be exemplary. You can actually use tools such as WebIAM to verify the contrast quality on your site and make adjustments where necessary for a better user experience. 

Create alt text for your images

Since images carry no optimization “juice” for website crawlers making sure that your site is working properly and ranked properly, you have most likely already heard of alt text for image optimization. Short for alternative text, alt text is the key for search engines to decipher what your images stand for within your content on your site. It’s also an opportunity to add relevant keywords when appropriate, and further boost your visibility with better ranking.

However, alt text serves another, essential purpose that’s more people-centric. It helps people who have visual impairment to understand the purpose of your images on your site. Plus, when your image cannot be loaded for whatever reason, this alt text helps give context to the reader to understand what your visuals are contributing to your written content. 

Whether you’d like to boost your SEO, make your website more accessible for people with hearing, mobility, cognitive, or visual impairments, or you’re looking to broaden your target audience to a new target market abroad, your website design, layout, and numerous functionalities will help you achieve that. Make accessibility one of your top priorities when deciding on your site’s features, and both you and your audience will benefit from the results.

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Elaine Bennett

Elaine Bennett is a marketing specialist and a blogger, currently based in Sydney, Australia. Topics that she covers include marketing, branding, entrepreneurship, and SMBs. She’s especially interested in social media and technology. Loves coffee, music and video games. Follow her on Twitter @ElaineCBennet

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