19th May 2016 marks the 2nd Global Accessibility Awareness Day and there are lots of events taking place all over the world to promote accessibility and inclusion. You can find out more about Global Accessibility Awareness Day by following this link >> http://ian.lt/1TlvV7f
To show our support for Global Accessibility Awareness Day, we have put together 5 tips for creating an accessible website. Web accessibility means that people with disabilities can access and interact with your website. However, it is important to remember that web accessibility can also benefit others such as elderly people.
Top 5 tips for creating an accessible website
Many disabled people, especially those with dyslexia, are very sensitive to particular typefaces. On www.iansyst.co.uk we have opted to using the FS Me font. This was commissioned by Mencap and has been designed to aid legibility for those with learning disabilities. However, there are lots more fonts that can work for people with disabilities.
A general rule to support those with dyslexia is to use sans-serif fonts rather than serif fonts. This is because serif fonts, such as Times New Roman or Georgia, tend to obscure the shapes of letters. Popular fonts to use include Read Regular, Calibri, and Myriad Pro. You can find out more about fonts to support those with dyslexia by following this link >> http://ian.lt/1gZ3BLv
- Use alternative text for images and animations
Alternative text is highly important for those who use assistive technology such as screen readers that they can identify content including images or other non-text web content. Screen readers, such as JAWS or Windows Eyes, will read the alternative text of images if this is present. If the alternative text is not present, screen readers will ignore the image and say anything. This means that your users will be missing out on additional content.
- Provide captions for videos
Captions allow the content of your video and audio files to be accessible to those who do not have access to audio. This includes people who are hard of hearing or those who speak a different language. Captions can be closed (turned on or off) or open (always visible) and display a text version of the audio synchronised with the video.
There are many free tools which allow you to add open or closed captions to your video. Examples include Windows Movie Maker, amara.org and Camtasia. At iansyst, we have used tools to help create captions for our online assistive technology training videos to ensure they are accessible for our customers.
- Provide accessibility options for text
Both on www.iansyst.co.uk and www.dyslexic.com, we have used our own accessibility options to allow users to change the text size, colour and background colour. This is particularly useful for those with dyslexia or visual impairment as it allows the user to adjust the colour contrast and make the text larger. There are also more advanced tools that you can install on your website. Recite Me is a cloud based web accessibility solution and includes text-to-speech technology, an interactive dictionary, a translation tool and much more.
Using ambiguous words such as ‘click here’ can be difficult for screen readers to understand. This is because screen readers can navigate through the page moving from link to link. Links need to make sense out of context. Instead of using ‘click here’ on your website, try using ‘for information about [product], click here’. The term ‘click here’ is also irrelevant to so many types of assistive technology. It assumes that all users are using a standard mouse to access your website. However this is probably not the case, for example, those with physical disabilities may be using voice recognition software to navigate your website.
There is much more that you can apply to your website to make it more accessible. Tweet us at @iansyst to let us know your tip for making websites accessible! Make sure you use the hash tag #GAAD as part of Global Accessibility Awareness Day.