Help Your Customers: Make Your Site Accessible
08.28.12 · Chaney Kimball
Fourth in a Series
As we get older, we marvel (grouse, carp) at how the type on websites keeps getting smaller. Until we realize that it’s just us. Getting older. But with age comes wisdom, because we appreciate the importance of accessibility. Being aware that some visitors have difficulty viewing and interacting with your site helps you create something that allows everyone to participate.
Are You Accessible?
Put your site through this accessibility checklist and see how it fares.
• Your site is coded for screen-reader software to assist sight-impaired visitors.
• Your on-screen type has high contrast and good readability against background.
• You use white space and good line spacing. You don’t use Flash or slow-loading plug-ins.
• Images have coded ALT tags for screen-reader software and search engines.
Flashy? Maybe. Flash? Not So Much.
Not too long ago, everyone was scrambling to jazz up their websites with all kinds of motion and whiz-bang. For the most part, that meant elements – or even the entire site – programmed in Flash. That was then. It’s definitely not now. We’re not saying there’s no room for Flash, but the case against it continues to mount. It’s not as searchable, and it can contribute to slow load times. The same goes for other add-ons. Use them sparingly, if at all.
Design and Typography
Here are a few tips to help you raise the accessibility/readability bar on your site.
• Use a font size/spacing that is easy to read.
• Position your logo prominently throughout; link it to the homepage.
• Create a tagline that stakes out a unique claim.
• Make your homepage digestible in less than five seconds.
• Provide a clear path to essential company information.
• Clearly identify main navigation points.
• Limit the number of buttons and links.
• Ensure that ads and pop-ups are as unobtrusive as possible.
Not Just for the Vision-Challenged
Perhaps the best thing about delivering greater accessibility? It ensures better engagement with every visitor. It forces you to think about making your website attractive, welcoming, easily digested, quick to capture attention and deliver a clear, concise message. The older and wiser truly appreciate it. The younger and more free-spirited simply expect it.
Take our website scorecard test and see how your site stacks up.
Next week: Visuals.