What is Accessibility?
Accessibility is the practice of making your website usable for everyone. If the technology is accessible, each user can interact with it in ways that work best for them.
The standard guidelines for web content accessibility are organized around four principles The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) are organized by four main principles, These four principles are known by the acronym POUR for Perceivable, Operable, Understandable, and Robust. I have put together the basics of accessibility an introduction to these principles. Let’s look at what each of these principles mean.
People with disabilities need to be able to perceive websites. It means that the user must be able to perceive your product and all the information contained in it. Essentially, all content must be visible and audible so that it is understood without any loss of information.
To make your website perceivable, there are several steps you can take:
- Audio files must have transcripts for deaf or hard of hearing users.
- Videos must have captions for deaf or hard of hearing users.
- Images must have alternative text describing the image for visually impaired users.
- Create content that can be presented in different ways without losing information or structure.
- Text must be added to the page via HTML rather than CSS so that the text can be changed into other forms people need, such as large print, braille, speech, symbols, or simpler language.
Does your website accessible for a blind, deaf, low vision or color-blind user?
Users must be able to operate the interface
Many people do not use the mouse and rely on the keyboard to interact with the Web. This requires keyboard access to all functionality, including form controls, input, and other user interface components. Your product needs to be usable and functional, with expected behaviors. It means that your product’s interface and navigation can be operated by any type of user, with or without the use of assistive technologies.
To make your website operable, there are several steps you can take:
- Make sure your product functionality is available from a keyboard and keyboard focus does not get trapped in any part of the content.
- Some people need more time than others to read and use the content. Make sure users have enough time to read and use the content.
- Do not include content that flashes at particular rates and patterns because it can cause seizures and physical reactions
- Users can easily navigate, find content, and determine where they are and keyboard focus is visible, and the focus order follows a meaningful sequence.
- Buttons, links, and other active components are large enough to make them easier to activate by touch.
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Can all functions of your website be performed with a keyboard?
Users must be able to understand the information as well as the operation of the user interface
Information and the operation of user interfaces must be understandable and website functions must be clear to all users. It means that regardless of ability, people must be able to understand not only the information in your web content, but also how to navigate the website to find the information they want, and how to use any tools or features built into the website.
To make your website understandable, there are several steps you can take:
- Make sure your product text content is readable and understandable.
- Forms should follow a logical flow and provide clear labels.
- Make Web pages appear and operate in predictable ways.
- Users can easily read audio files, find content, and determine where they are and keyboard focus is visible, and the focus order follows a meaningful sequence.
Is all the text on your website clearly written? Are all the interactions easy to understand?
Users must be able to access the content as technologies advance
Content must be equally robust across a wide variety of technologies and platforms, from one browser to the next, from PCs to handheld devices.
It is important that your product is prepared to be used through various assistive technologies, so you should think about the greatest possible compatibility between current technologies on the market and keep up to date for the solutions to come.
To make your website robust, there are several steps you can take:
- Make sure your product has clean code is generally more robust and consumable across platforms.
- Websites must be functional across current and future devices, operating systems, and browsers.
- The content must remain accessible and be able to be interpreted.
Meeting this requirement helps people to navigate through web pages in different ways, depending on their particular needs and preferences. When we create and develop a product with these principles in mind, we are creating a good experience for all our users, we are opening the door for more people to be able to use our service.
We must remember that designing for accessibility is not generosity, but a right of people with disabilities.
Let’s together make the world a more inclusive place!
If you want to make sure your web content follows the principles of accessibility, but you aren’t sure where to start, contact us. Our team of trained accessibility consultants can help you to navigate relevant guidelines and create a website that’s accessible now and for years to come.