This week Belatrix is delighted to publish a guest post from Jackie Edwards on the topic of website accessibility. She has written about health and wellness, and supports a number of charities that support people with mental health issues.
Many business owners assume that their website can be used by everyone because it features videos, written text and clear navigation, but in reality this is not enough. Over 55 million Americans live with a disability that affects their ability to navigate the internet, so it is essential for inaccessible websites to undergo a digital transformation so that they are more customer-oriented.
If you want to make sure that everyone online can use your website, here are a few tips to help.
Prevent Blindness America found that 53.2 million Americans who are aged 45 or older live with a visual impairment, and around 18% of those people are legally blind. One way to make your website accessible for the visually impaired is to make it possible for users to enlarge text on the screen. It can also be useful to be aware of the colous that you use, as around 5 to 10% of people are affected by color-blindness.
Improve the multimedia options so that people with hearing impairments can use your website without problems. You can start by adding sign language interpreters to your videos to make them easier to understand, or you could use optional subtitles that can be switched on or off. You can also use large headings, subheading and short sentences to make the text on the page clearer.
A range of conditions are classed as cognitive disabilities, including Traumatic Brain Injury Down Syndrome. Cognitive disabilities can make it difficult for people to process numbers and text, so you should use a clear, minimal design to reduce distractions. You can also break up the text on the screen so that it is less overwhelming.
Another thing you may want to consider is lowering the reading age of your written content so that it is easier for people to digest and understand.
When you have finished updating your website you should ask for feedback from your users. This is because your users will be able to spot any remaining issues that need changing, which makes it easier for you to ensure that your website is actually accessible to everyone using the internet. It also means that you can constantly improve your website, and over time this will lead to more customers and a bigger outreach.
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