January 26, 2012
Liz published this at 7:42 am
A Guest Post by
You must be accessible if you want to build a human-centered enterprise. I recently participated in a Twitter chat hosted by the Association for Women in Communications (#AWCchat) on the subject of web accessibility, and it made a huge impression on me.
Did you know that people with disabilities are 18% of US population with $175 billion in discretionary spending power? Did you know that adults with disabilities spend 2x as much time online as those without disabilities?
Here are some tips on how to ensure that your web presence is inviting and accessible to visitors with challenges:
- Include an accessibility checklist in your quality control process (refer to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines for detailed help: http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG20/ or this Blog Accessibility Checklist:
- Remember to consider all disabilities, not just sight challenges (think about keyboard use, auditory, etc.)
- Always, always use alt tags for images, icons, and graphics
- Try to use custom, descriptive URLs wherever possible (rather than numbers/codes)
- Consider polling your audience to find out whether they are having any issues with your site; seek assistance from anyone in your circle who uses assistive technology (like the JAWS reader).
Provide transcripts for audio and video clips where possible
- Run your site through an automated checker like WAVE: http://wave.webaim.org/ or one of the tools listed here: http://webmasterformat.com/blog/top-ten-accessibility-analysis-tools
- Be aware of the font sizes you are using; larger is better, and the ability to resize text is good as well.
- Make sure that you are not using color as the sole indicator for a required action.
…and here’s the bonus…almost all of these tweaks have the extra benefit of helping your SEO at the same time!
Big hat tip to #AWCchat (which happens Thursdays at 11:30am CST) and the co-host (and source of the statistics) Glenda Watson Hyatt, who is known as The Left Thumb Blogger. You are vessels for good in the world!
Author’s Bio: Rosemary O’Neill is an insightful spirit who works for social strata — a top ten company to work for on the Internet . Check out their blog. You can find her on Google+ and on Twitter as @rhogroupee
Thank you, Rosemary!
ME “Liz” Strauss