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More Website Accessibility Tips

Mark Tomkins

More practical tips to make your website accessible – tips 11-20

In our previous article ‘How to Make Your Website More Accessible‘ we covered the first 10 tips in a series of 25 to help website owners and managers ensure the content they add to their website is more accessible to those with disabilities and forms part of your process towards ensuring your website meets WCAG 2.1AA compliance.

The following tips address some of the more common website accessibility errors and how to correct them and improve the experience for those with disabilities and that use assistive technology.

Page formatting tips for good website accessibility

  1. When creating content using headings and web forms, check it by using the tab key to navigation through the page and make sure it goes in a sequential order. It’s a quick and easy way to get a sense of whether someone who uses assistive technology will get lost on the page or add unnecessary extra barriers.
  2. When creating web content or a document, use a clear, plain open typeface to help those with Dyslexia and other sight-related challenges. Avoid over-styled, fancy typefaces and avoid using coloured text. Whilst there is no specific typeface that works better than others, but we find Arial, Open Sans and Poppins to give the best experience.
  3. As with the use of sequential headings to structure the page sections, make sure that when writing your content you create a clear order to the content – we find describing it to ‘think like you are telling a story – include a start, middle and end to each page’s content and be sure to keep each section as short as possible.
  4. Avoid using tables on web pages or in documents for maintaining neatness or styling as they do not contain any navigation making it difficult to know what direction the content should be read. Keep tables for financial information only. MS Excel provides the function to export a PDF with accessibility aspects. It may be better to provide access to the Excel file but remember this creates a barrier as the user may not have a Microsoft licence and the file can also then be edited and redistributed. If you have to use tables, make sure there is row and column formatting.

    Text, link and document formats for good website accessibility

  5. Avoid all-capital letters, particular for headings. It’s harder to read by those with and without difficulties. Capital letters does not add emphasis to the words’ importance – consider emboldening a few, key words instead and do not underline the text as this infers it’s a link.
  6. Make sure link text is descriptive – avoid ‘click here’ or ‘more’ or ‘download’ as link text. Use a short, concise description of where the user is going or what they are about to open, e.g. ‘here’s how the link text should appear to Aubergine’s website‘ within a sentence.
  7. Web accessibility is not just a technical consideration, it’s one of understanding and comprehension. When writing content, be clear, concise and succinct. Consider the reader and that they won’t necessarily know what you know. Avoid acronyms where possible and consider adding a glossary of terms.
  8. If you are linking to a document, add additional information such as format and size to the link text so the user knows what to expect so they can make an informed decision whether to click it, or not. Such as Aubergine’s new website questionnaire (.docx 87kb)
  9. On social posts and web pages, avoid animations and gifs that flash and change scene very quickly. This sudden change in colour or contrast can create a bad experience for those that suffer seizures.And finally, make sure you have a checking process to hand so that you can be sure you haven’t let something non-accessible through:
  10. Use a web page accessibility checking tool such as Wave by Webaim browser extension. You can add it to your browser and instantly check for the obvious accessibility errors. You should make this part of your publishing process to ensure nothing gets missed. It doesn’t beat asking users who actually use assistive technology to check your website – after all, they are your audience.

In the last article in this 3-part blog post about website accessibility, we address the top 5 most common website accessibility myths and problems when starting out.