Types of Accessibility part 1

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When accessibility is spoken about for people living with a disability, the go to type that is thought of is physical accessibility. This could include travelling to a destination, getting into a venue, moving around the space or the services and support that are available on-site when you visit.

Web accessibility is another type that is often overlooked but should be a significant consideration for all businesses. Before visiting a new establishment more than 85% of customers look online for access information, if a website doesn’t provide the relevant content or isn’t easy to navigate for customers with enhanced access requirements, then you would instantly lose that customer.

There are simple ways to make your website more accessible including small adjustments that might not look like a lot but can be extremely beneficial. Images for example, are great way for a website to visually showcase what your business offers, however for potential customers with a visual impairment, these images may not have any impact in their decision making.

Making sure all your images have alternative text attached to them is an easy way to solve this issue (and improve your SEO). This allows people who use a screen reader to not only listen to a narrated copy of the text on your website but also receive a description of the images that appear too. If an image was used to convey a message, then use the alternative text to describe the photo and share the same message.

With an aging population predicted to triple to 1.5 billion by 2050, making sure your website is accessible for anyone with any type of visual impairment, has never been more paramount. It is also worth noting that mobile screen reader usage increased by 70% between 2009 to 2014!

Other simple steps to improve your website accessibility include, giving your web pages clear and meaningful titles and including a ‘Skip to Main Content’ link on each page. Both these additions will help anyone using a screen reader or who navigates without a mouse, have a better user experience when visiting your website. Without these steps you could be instantly diminishing your potential customer base.

Image of keyboard with letters showing

All three of these steps to improve your website accessibility, appear in the guidelines known as the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), currently at version 2.1. The W3C’s (The World Wide Web Consortium’s) Web Accessibility Initiative oversee the guidelines and are continuously looking into new ways to make the internet more accessible and inclusive for all.

If you click on the above link to the guidelines, you will see that there are clearly numerous considerations in terms of your digital and website accessibility. However, as mentioned in above, every effort you make can have a huge impact! Each step made will help improve your opportunity to be more inclusive and engage with all your potential customers.

With so much awareness still needed around all topics of accessibility, a lot of people remain unsure about what is involved with accessibility and how services can be put into place to help meet people’s enhanced access requirements.

We hope this overview series on accessibility will allow you to understand how varied the topic of accessibility is and some of the ways to incorporate measures to support your customers as much as possible.

Please get in touch if you have made any positive steps to be more accessible and inclusive and would like us to share your story.

Follow Claire D'All:

I graduated from the University of Dundee in 2016 with a Bachelor of Science Honours degree in Applied Computing. During my studies the field that I had a great interest in was web development however since graduating I have also become very interested in accessibility. I was born with Congenital Muscular Dystrophy and since the age of 3 I have used a wheelchair 24/7. Due to my disability I have always come across problems regarding accessibility, which is why it’s such a passion for me.

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