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Three Tips to Optimize Your Website Accessibility

 

If you own a brick-and-mortar business, you’ve probably had to ensure that people with disabilities are able to utilize your business.  One thing that you may not have considered when designing your website is that you can also optimize your website to make it more accessible for people that have disabilities.  There are several things that you should consider when it comes to the accessibility of your site for a broad range of individuals with disabilities that would otherwise have a hard time using your site.

1) WCAG 2.0

WCAG 2.0 stands for Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0, and are suggestions that can be implemented to make your website more user-friendly for those that have a disability.  These guidelines were created by the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines Working Group, and this may sound scary to someone that doesn’t have a very technical background, but it’s written in a non-technical manner for you to be able to test your website to ensure that it doesn’t fail. Going over these different guidelines may help you identify places where your site isn’t as accessible as it should be.  Two factors that we’ll go over in more detail are Section 508 and Mobile Zoom.

2) Section 508

Section 508 is an amendment of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 that was originally written in 1986 that requires Federal agencies to keep their information technology and electronic communications accessible for people with disabilities.  This was established to ensure that everyone has equal access to the information provided by the government.  

While this is intended for federal agencies, it can be beneficial for businesses to go over their website to ensure that it follows the Section 508 checklist.  For instance, it takes into account that some users may be colorblind, and these guidelines help to evaluate your website on whether or not a person that’s color blind will still be able to view your content as it currently is or if you need to tweak the reliance of colors.  

Another area that your website may find some benefits is with your videos.  You can add captions or a transcript to your videos that make it possible for anyone viewing your video to know what’s happening whether they are hearing impaired or not.   

3) Mobile Zoom

You’ve probably used mobile zoom a time or two on your device.  This is where you’re able to pinch a touchscreen between your fingers to enlarge details that you need.  It comes in handy for smaller screened devices for a lot of people because it makes it easier to read and interact with a website.  People that have vision problems can also greatly benefit from being able to use the mobile zoom to make your site bigger for them to be able to see on any screen.  Your website may have this feature disabled, and you’re not even aware that it has been.  

Following the WCAG 2.0 is just one way that you can improve your website’s user accessibility for all.  In fact, making these changes probably won’t alter the way that someone who doesn’t need them will see your site, but it’ll open up your site to those that do need these features.  Someone that has low vision, photosensitivity, hearing impairments, and more will benefit from these changes being made.  Sometimes it’s just the smallest tweaks that don’t take a lot of time that can make a world of difference.


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