Not everyone will have perfect mobility, hearing, or eyesight to navigate a website as easily as those who do. By taking accessibility into consideration when designing or building your website, you increase the number of users your business’ online presence can cater to. The inclusion of accessible features will enhance user experience and allow people to perform necessary tasks or find important information. It will also simultaneously adhere to the 2010 UK Equality Act. Additionally, it has hidden benefits in regards to SEO, so making your website more accessible benefits not only users, but you as well.
In this blog we will be discussing the three main things that you need to know about website accessibility and how it can improve user experience and boost your businesses SEO.
1) Ease of Navigation
Accessibility can often help optimise the ease of navigating a website for those with and without disabilities. Essentially, accessibility boils down to making everything on your website clear and logical. For example, using concise and specific labels for buttons or links will not only help those who use things like screen readers to understand what consequences clicking on that will have; it also improves the overall flow and polish to your site. So, rather than having a link merely saying “click here”, writing something like “to learn more about our company, read all about us here”, with a link to the appropriate page would be more accessible for users using text-to-speech software (TTS).
2) Importance to SEO and Rankings
Ensuring that your website is suitably accessible may seem like a lot more work to put in, however, it has many benefits that go beyond basic user experience. It can help search engines understand that your site is legitimate, and accessible features and SEO often overlap so catering to everyone can also boost your online rankings.
– Accessible design enhances user experience
– Informative and concise page titles help screen readers and searchers
– Headers (h1, h2 etc.) create a hierarchy of content
– Alt-text provides context and an opportunity to include more keywords
– Sitemaps increase ease of navigation for users and search engine crawlers
3) 5 More Ways to Make your Site More Accessible
-Use Headings Correctly
Using headings in a logical way (e.g. H1, H2, H3) will help organise the content on the webpage. This will make the content easier to interpret by screen readers and so specific content will be simple to locate. This will also benefit your site’s SEO as search engines not only look for keywords within relevant titles, they have evolved to think more like users. So, having user-friendly titles aids both sighted and visually impaired users and also complies with more recent SEO requirements.
-Include Image Alt Text
Image alt text is a short description of the subject of an image. The alt text is then read out by screen readers to offer an alternative for visually impaired users. This should be relevant to the image being used to offer wider context to the body of text it is accompanying.
-Labelled Form Fields
It is important to make sure that every field of any form is properly and clearly labelled. Without these labels in place, it can be difficult for visually impaired people to know exactly what is expected of them. Including descriptive labels, such as, “Full Name” or “First Name” and “Last Name”, can help prevent any mistakes in data entry.
Sitemaps offer a quick way to navigate a site by giving an overview of all of the important pages. This is particularly important for accessibility reasons as it consolidates the most relevant information about the content of the page in one place in a clear and concise manner. Sitemaps are also beneficial for SEO as they help search engines understand which pages they ought to pay attention to.
Users with limited mobility may struggle to use sites that require the use of a mouse exclusively to navigate. By factoring in ways to move about your site with a keyboard, by hitting tab or enter, you increase the usability of your site. This means that for things like forms the tab order should match the visual order, to ensure a logical way to navigate throughout the site. It is imperative to not use elements that only activate when a mouse hovers over it, as users who only use a keyboard will not be able to interact with them.
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