The leading Search Engine has made their point clear that content should be created for all users, and not just to rank highly for various searches. There have been lots of articles posted lately about accessibility and the importance of making a website which is accessible to blind people and in the United Kingdom the Government have it made it a legal requirement that all public sector organisations should have their website and mobile application fully accessible to disabled users too. So, why not join them and make your website fully accessible too?
You might be already asking yourselves ‘why do I need to make my website accessible to the blind’ – well, let us tell you there are many reasons why you should consider making your website accessible!
- It will help to expand your client base and reach. According to Wikipedia, there are 285 million disabled users worldwide, that’s quite an audience!
- It is also a good thing to do and your business will, or should, get some credits. There are several communities and groups across the world supporting disabled and blind people and your business could explore opportunities with them.
- They will appreciate it! Anyone who is visually impaired will appreciate visiting your website or mobile application, and being able to read and understand the content. If they have a good experience with your website they are likely to come back again and refer you to their friends who are also visually impaired. It will certainly help to create a ‘feel good factor’.
Making the necessary changes to your website to make it accessible to visually impaired is not as complicated as you might think. Follow these simple steps and you will be making good headway. If you would prefer the help of an agency then you can contact one of the theme developers listed on our website.
Having A Website Accessible Presents Exciting New Business Opportunities
Businesses invest their time and money into creating a website, writing content and driving traffic to it with the aim of converting. However, most of them are not reaching everyone on the internet. People with disabilities, or have impaired vision, are not being reached. So, by making your website accessible to blind people will open up new doors and avenues for your business.
There have been studies carried out in the United States of America by the President’s Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities. The study was in relation to the discretionary income of individuals with disabilities, the figures state this amount is over $170 billion. They also expected this to continue to rise moving forward.
It is not yet a legal requirement for private businesses to comply with these standards but as Google is ever changing they may introduce something to help improve their service to their disabled users. With this in mind, now might be a good time for your business to look at the standard which is outlined by the WAI (World Wide Web Consortium’s Web Accessibility Initiative). We would not be surprised if Google made these changes in one of their algorithm updates shortly. Remember their updates which penalised websites that were not responsive? This update shook the industry and as a result, many websites disappeared overnight on mobile searches.
How Drupal Plan To Make Their Systems Accessible
We recently wrote an article about Drupal’s commitment to web accessibility and how they plan to approach this subject. We will be following up this article with updates on how other vendors approach accessibility too.
How You Can Make Your Website Accessible For Blind People?
We hope you understand the importance of having a website that is accessible and what business opportunities it could potentially bring. So how do go about making your website accessible to the blind, and what is involved?
Well, you could approach an agency and a theme developer to do the work for you or you could tackle the matter in hand yourself. If you are looking at having a new website built then please specify to your development agency the importance of having a website accessible so their development team can build this in your project. This applies to having an eCommerce store built or a website using a content management system, such as WordPress, Drupal, Sitecore or any other CMS.
Making your website accessible and user-friendly to the blind is not a difficult task and can be done with a relatively low skill level. Infact, some of these practices have been around for many years but organisations haven’t applied them.
Most users who suffer from impaired vision will use screen reading software to help them navigate the internet and browse websites. NVDA, Serotek System Access, and Dolphin Supernova and just some of the screen readers available and commonly used globally. There are other readers available and if you search for ‘screen reader software’ you will be presented with suitable systems. These readers also help to test during development stages when building a new website.
Use Alt-Text For Your Images
Make sure that your images have alt text tags used to help explain what the image is about. In the HTML code
<!– BAD: adding useless cruft alt –>
<img src=”/images/logo.png” alt=”” />
<!– GOOD: empty alt is silent –>
<img src=”/images/accessibility.png” alt=”How to make your website accessible” />
Put The Important Stuff At The Top
Place all of the important content towards the top of page so your readers know what the page is about and don’t be affraid to use images. This helps the search engines to determine what the page is about and it will also help with the SEO for your website too. Many readers and search engines scan through the top of a page to understand what the topic is so make sure you explain this at the top of your page.
Use Headers In Your Content
A heading in your content is good for the SEO of your page and it is also good for users too so the understand what the page is all about. Always make sure that your pages use H2, H3 and H4 heading if possible. Many of the screen reading software applications that are available seperate the page with headings to help speed up navigation for the reader.
Be Smart With Your Keywords
Being smart with your keywords will help to attract the search engines and more visitors to your website. Using keywords properly on your website is also important for visually impaired users too. Screen readers have built in search facilities to allow users to navigate to specific peices of content on the page, smart hey!