Easy Steps To Make Your Website Accessible To The Disabled

Is Your Website Easily Accessible to The Disabled?

The use of websites has continuously gained popularity in Kenya over the recent years. According to a research by the Communication Authority of Kenya, at least 50% of Kenyan businesses have a website. Business websites in Kenya are often loaded with  information  to communicate, inform and respond to inquiries. However, with one out of every ten Kenyans reported to have a disability, it is important to ensure that your website is accessible to the disabled unless you end up locking out millions of Kenyans from your website.

1 out of every 10 Kenyans has a disability.

Easy Steps To Make Your Website Accessible To The Disabled

Making Your Websites Accessible To The Blind

Blind people use software such as screen reader to help them to surf. The software reads the text aloud for anything that appears on the screen. The process can be tedious and can skip some content. The following tips will make the process easier:

  1. Ensure all your images have ALT text. The screen reader will detect ALT tags and will read them aloud and this is the only way a user knows what the image is. Take ALT tags seriously and use them as an opportunity to describe the image accurately.
  2. Avoid making your pages dependent on images. This can be achieved through a number of techniques:
    • Short equivalents for images, including icons, buttons, and graphics;
    • Description of data on charts, diagrams, and illustrations.
    • Brief descriptions of non-text content such as audio and video files.
    • Labels for form controls, input, and other user interface components.
    • Give your readers a link to skip your navigation menu.
    • All graphics should have text labels.
  3. Use valid HTML. Many access programs depend on the use of standard HTML – e.g. some software can give an overview of the page by extracting all the headers and links and presenting them on a single page. If you have no headers on your page and all your links say ‘click here’ then the accessibility of your website will be very low.
  4. Code Flash Objects Specifically with Accessibility in Mind. It is vital to establish the need of using Flash on the website. In case it can be replaced with simple context it is better in order to improve the accessibility of the website. They can also be replaced with images and short descriptions.
  5. Use headings correctly to organize the structure of your content. This method will ensure the blind person is able to distinguish different points and this will provide a flow of ideas.


Making Your Websites Accessible To The Color Blind

Do not be deceived and think that your site is immune because it doesn’t use (say) red or green. The different types of color blindness can cause the colors of your site to appear completely different from what you intend. The end result is that your text may be indistinguishable from your background or that different elements of your page may appear merged with the rest of your page. For example, the “buttons” on your side panel may appear to have the same color as the rest of your page, so that the color-blind person reading may not realize that those are buttons.


Making Your Website Accessible To People With Poor Eyesight

Avoid the use of extremely tiny texts. Small fonts make it difficult for people with poor eyesight to read. The site may be aesthetic but the texts play the major role. The web developer should create a site with friendly text fonts for all the people. It is therefore vital to ensure the font is not strenuous to the reader in order to deliver the intended purpose.

Use contrasting colors. The background and the text should have highly contrasting colors for people with poor eyesight to be able to distinguish. The contrast will make the accessibility of the page better and will benefit more people.


Making Your Website Accessible To Both The Blind And The Deaf

These people “read” documents by using some sort of tactile display, for example, a Braille console that translates the text on your web page into Braille symbols which they can feel with their fingers. Since these people cannot access images and audio files it is essential to create websites that are not overloaded with either of the two. If you use audio or video provide text-based transcripts and closed captioning.

Creation of a user-friendly website for everyone will help everyone to access the information. It will ensure inclusivity of every person despite their disability.


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