One area you may not have considered is how to make your website impaired friendly. The US Census Bureau reported in 2005 that there were about 54 million people with various types of disabilities in the United States alone. Although not all of those disabilities will impact the way someone accesses your website, hearing and sight disabilities most definitely can.
Keep in mind that even color blindness can impact how someone sees your website. You are probably starting to see why it is so important to make sure your website is accessible. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to improve the experience of disabled or impaired site visitors.
# 1: Alt Tags to Make Website Impaired Friendly
One really simple thing you can do to make your website impaired friendly for those who are disabled is to include alt tags for your images. If someone hovers their mouse over the image, or in this case if a reader is reading the page to someone, having the alt tags in place is helpful.
However, you have to do more than just have an alt tag. Your alt tag has to be very specific and fully describe the object the site visitor would otherwise see with his or her eyes. At the same time, you don’t want to make the alt tag extremely long. Think concise and descriptive.
# 2: Be Careful with Colors
For someone with color blindness, reds and blues often blend into similar colors and are difficult to figure out. About 2.7 million people (4.5%) are affected by red-green color deficiency or protanopia. You can still use these colors, but use them in moderation and avoid using them at all in forms.
Another thing you can do is to separate out colors with some white space or some type of divider. This will prevent the colors from blending into one another and making them hard to view. There are some tools that will help you be sure the colors on your web page are working well for everyone, even the visually impaired. One that is super easy to use is Colorblind Web Page Filter. You just punch in the URL, choose a color filter (red-green, blue-yellow, etc.) and fetch the filtered look. This allows you to catch color combination problems and fix them.
# 3: Use a Website Impaired Friendly CMS
Using a content management system (CMS), such as WordPress or Drupal opens up a whole host of plugins and themes that are already website impaired friendly. For example, you can search for WP themes and read if they are accessible or not. However, you’ll likely still want to tweak these themes, so keep good color rules in mind and run the finished result through a filter as linked above.
# 4: Use Distinct Headings
Readers can interpret heading structure, such as <h1> and <h2> tags. If you use these and organize your content in a smart way, the reader can read it to the website visitor in a way that makes sense instead of stringing both headings and text together in a nonstop speech.
Use the <h1> heading only for the title of the page. Then, break the sections down accordingly with <h2> and <h3> headers. Do not skip and have only an <h3> as the screen reader may think there is missing content. It is all automated, so you have to closely follow rules.
# 5: Use Active Descriptions for Links
A screen reader will be reading along, so you don’t want to interrupt the flow with something like “Click this link.” Instead try to use descriptive wording for your links. For example, you might write: “To learn more about ABC product, check out the ABC demonstration video.”
As you can see, by making just a few tweaks to your design and details on a website, you can easily accommodate all site visitors, even those who are impaired in some way. By reaching out to everyone, you will increase your target demographic and your business will grow.
Once you’ve got your website set up for those with disabilities, you’ll also want to integrate your event management with your website.