Is Your Website Truly Accessible? Tools for Design & Audit
In this digitally-driven world, accessibility plays a vital role in technological advancement. It ensures that everyone, regardless of their abilities, can enjoy equal access to information and services online. For businesses, this also presents opportunities in a largely untapped market that boasts a reported disposable income of approximately $8 trillion annually. This figure can further expand to $13 trillion when considering the combined financial power of their families and friends.
Beyond the mere business statistics, the true essence of website accessibility lies in its central role in fostering inclusive communities. By having websites that cater to the needs of individuals with disabilities, businesses offer a platform that promotes confidence and independence. This creates myriad opportunities for people with disabilities to flourish both professionally and personally, giving them the supportive space they require to collaborate with others and be active contributors within their communities.
In Australia, prevalent issues in digital accessibility encompass the accessibility of utility bill formats, product assistance, customer support, online banking, and shopping. To address these concerns, the government suggests the following measures:
- Recognize that visual content might not be apparent to users relying on text-based data. Hence, it’s essential to offer text alternatives for photos, graphs, and GIFs.
- In addition to CAPTCHAs for website security, brands should also consider alternatives like email confirmations or introduce audio-based security features.
- Don’t overlook the importance of adding subtitles, transcripts, or closed captions for video content.
- Refrain from setting video and audio content to autoplay, as it could startle screen readers and hearing aid users.
- Avoid exclusively offering content in PDF format since it’s often incompatible with screen readers. Instead, provide content in Word or HTML format.
- Ensure the website is navigable using only a keyboard, catering to those unable to use a mouse.
- Offer diverse customer support channels, addressing the distinct needs of all users. This encompasses phone calls, chats, and emails.
Moreover, the following tools can aid in auditing your website for accessibility and ensure it incorporates these essential features:
Overall Digital Accessibility:
- Media Access Australia: The nation’s sole independent not-for-profit charitable organisation focusing on enhancing web and digital accessibility for the disabled.
Tools for Accessible Website Designers and Developers:
- Designers using Figma can take advantage of these tools compatible with the platform in designing with accessibility in mind:
- A11y: Ensures text is readable to users and checks the contrast ratio
- Able: A great tool to check for colour contrast, can simulate how the design will be perceived by different types of colour blindness
- Colour Blind: Provides 8 versions of the design, depending on different types of colour vision deficiency
- Text Resizer: Commonly used by users with visual impairments, this tool allows the user to adjust the text of the screen depending on their needs
- Stark: Features accessibility tools that designers can easily add to their designs such as contract checking, colourblind generator, contrast checking, typography improvements, and more.
- Color Safe: A free tool that allows designers to generate beautiful and fully functional accessible colour palettes, compliant with WCAG guidelines.
- WhoCanUse: Another free tool that simulates the look of the website for different types of visual impairment including low vision, cataract, glaucoma, and various kinds of colour blindness.
Website Accessibility Audit:
- Accessibility Checker from Intent Based: This website allows you to audit your website for free and provides recommendations.
- LERA: A free Google Chrome extension that allows automated and manual accessibility testing for individual web pages, provides fixes recommendations, and checks for Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1, Level A and AA compliance.
- JAWS: A screen reader application that allows web developers to add speech synthesisers on the website for screen reader users. It helps in the accessibility of emails, PDFs, and forms, to name a few. There are also the Skim Reading and Text Analyzer features, allowing users to save time.
- Dynomapper: Features a web accessibility tool that scans the website for compliance with WCAG standards.
For an extended list of these tools, Hubspot has featured many.
In conclusion, as the digital realm grows, ensuring website accessibility becomes paramount. By adopting recommended practices and utilising available tools, businesses can tap into a wider market and help create an inclusive digital space.
Through our hands-on work with NDIS service providers, we have gained a solid grasp of accessibility needs. This insight makes us a reliable and approachable choice for your website’s accessibility requirements. Together, we can create a web space that’s welcoming for all. Contact us today to see how we can help!