All you need to know to make your website WCAG compliant in 2021
The aim of a website is to function for everyone, regardless of their technology, software, dialect, location, or aptitude. Hence, achieving this can make the Web accessible to people with a wide variety of hearing, mobility, visual, and cognitive abilities.
However, if the websites, applications, or tools are poorly designed, they are likely to generate barriers, preventing people from using the Internet. In addition, it’s highly improbable that each website designer would have the opportunity to test their website’s ease of access with legitimate customers. Fortunately, there are a number of WCAG compliance measures that designers can follow to ensure that they produce a customer experience that’s engaging and accessible to a broader audience.
As the Website eliminates many obstacles faced by many individuals, the impact of internet disability drastically changes. To help you get started, we’ve put together a list of high-level major factors to make your site more accessible.
Web Accessibility Fundamentals:
Web Accessibility Guidelines: WCAG Compliance
The World Wide Web Consortium is an international organization committed to creating the internet and other online technologies as approachable as possible to all people.
Accessibility rules are revised as soon as new information becomes available. According to which the most recent version is provided on the W3C website.
Hence, the most recent version is WCAG 2.1, which incorporates the new revised rules and regulations of accessibility. The abbreviation WCAG stands for Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. Remember, fulfilling the criteria for WCAG compliance will make your website the most accessible.
Levels of WCAG compliance:
There are three degrees of conformity in regards to WCAG compliance, and each level is more accessible than the one before it. Having their own criteria, such as:
- WCAG Level A: is the bare minimum level of web accessibility. One requirement at this level is that your website must be easy to navigate. However, this degree doesn’t require to employ any assistive technology, which means the screen reader users won’t be able to access the content. Resolving the discrepancies on your website is the only way out.
- WCAG Level AA: to meet the criteria for this level, your website must incorporate the use of different assistive technology; on desktops and handy devices. In addition, the web pages of your site must contain labels and headings to describe the content.
- WCAG Level AAA: one of the requirements is that pages must utilize section headers to arrange the content of the page. This level requires a website to have the highest level of accessibility. However, remember that the perfect website doesn’t exist, as many customers might find it challenging to browse in certain areas.
This was just a glimpse of the standards. There are several other factors that need to be considered to be WCAG compliant.
Tips for leveraging your Website Accessibility:
There are several requirements that you would need for WCAG compliance. However, to meet the basic requirements, considering the following tips might help:
1. Adding Links:
The purpose of adding links in the content is to provide further explanation to the reader, ensuring that he gets a full grip of the idea behind the content. However, the way the links are added is not very effective. If we put ourselves in the viewer’s shoes, the users may anticipate that the linked text would be potentially highlighted in the text itself.
Since we aim to make the website accessible to everyone, the web designers and developers must consider the user’s expectations instead of prioritizing the style of the website. As a result, you will likely generate a lifetime value for your customer, which is essential to your ecommerce store’s success.
Let’s look at an example of a bad linked and a well linked text. Adding phrases like “click here” or “learn more” is a bad linked text. Since, you won’t help the user in any case, in fact you’ll waste his time. As there is a possibility that the piece of information that you are referring to him might be useless for him. However, on the other hand, the well linked text is the one which is phrased descriptively. Descriptive phrases will enable the users to indicate what they will be interacting with by clicking on the link. Besides, to serve the best purpose write the text with a different color and also underline the text to highlight it from the body text. By doing this, you’ll give users a glimpse of what the linked text regards. It will enable them to make a decision beforehand whether they want to interact with it or not.
2. Alt text of Images:
It is essential to ensure that all images incorporated on your website are accompanied by Alt text.
You might have seen while browsing through the website that when you load a web page and the image there fails to load, a description text appears where the image should be. That’s what Alt text is.
The aim of Alt text is to give the users an idea of what the image is about without showing it to them. Alt-text is extremely beneficial for individuals who utilize a screen reader to engage with a website since it allows them to understand what the visuals are saying.
3. Incorporate Header Structure:
We typically structure our content by creating headings and changing their font sizes to make it more visible. Also, incorporating the header structure into your website is essential in order to align visitors to the website content they are interacting with.
Audiences with visual disabilities often use screen readers; they translate images and written texts into tactile characters to make the information accessible. Thus, having no designated header structure would make your website vulnerable to further discrepancies on different pages.
In order to avoid these issues, set up a framework for your website such that the content follows the clear hierarchy of headers, i.e., H1, H2, H3, and further goes on. Doing this will not only visually present the content but will also be implanted in the website’s code.
Establishing a dedicated header format will:
- Help screen readers detect text easily.
- Ensure consistency across the website, resulting in a better user experience for everyone.
- Enable search engines to examine your page, resulting in improved SEO properly.
In the digital realm, colors can be utilized to express a variety of messages to consumers. For example, red is usually connected with risk or a fault, whereas green is linked with something positive.
If you come across a visually disabled user, then including additional forms of communication, such as clear language and iconography, might help you communicate your message effectively without relying exclusively on color.
If your content incorporates any chart or graph, then you can consider including textures or patterns in it to designate the visual differences.
Similarly, ensuring that your website has a significant color contrast between elements and backdrops is essential for accessibility. A strong contrast helps people with vision problems see what’s on the screen more clearly.
5. Audio & Video:
Accessibility necessitates the inclusion of captions and transcripts for all audio and video files.
Users who’ve had trouble hearing can easily access your content if you accompany transcripts along with audio files. On the other hand, the caption would give the users a central idea of the video. Doing this will make it easier for them to decide whether they want to listen to it or not.
Thus, make a habit of your workflow, adding closed captions to your videos. Also, it would be great to include subtitles in your videos. This will enable users to read the content you have shared regardless of viewing it.
Incorporating these into your content will not only benefit disabled users, but even those who are simply in a situation where they can’t hear the audio out loud. They will appreciate the ease with which they may be able to access your content.
6. Improve your Tables:
To make the tables much simpler for screen readers to interpret, you should avoid writing the table title with bold letters. Instead, it would help if you considered utilizing the caption element to add the captions to your tables; that would make it much easier. Besides, you must also insert “scope” elements into your table.
Make sure that everything lies in place, identify new columns and rows carefully. Since, suppose the table lacks any of the elements. In that case, screen readers might spit out a succession of table cells without providing any context to the user, resulting in a poor user experience. Thus, to ensure that you have no discrepancy left, you must take a UX test.
When it comes to establishing or modifying a website’s design, typography is an essential factor to consider. The typeface on a website must be able to provide consumers with the information they require in a readable and convenient way. Readability is especially crucial for low-vision people who may see the display but may not be able to view all of the features on a page.
When selecting accessible typefaces, it’s important to consider whether characters are easily distinguishable from each other and have sufficient letter spacing in between.
Thus, to counteract inaccessible typography, designers should use larger text sizes to make content simpler to read and differentiate between characters. Another practice that they must consider is ensuring that resizing the text can easily take place on the web page while still functioning. In addition, align the text from right to left to ensure that the line’s length must not exceed 66 characters.
8. Navigation & Site Structure:
While designing the website, designers must take in consideration the keyboard users, especially when creating a website’s navigation.
For instance, when a mouse user would use his sense of sight to locate your website. If he fails to locate then he would opt for website navigation. While on the other hand, a keyboard user uses the function key “Tab” to browse through to acquire a hint of what’s on the web page before interacting with it. Remember, that people with sight impairments are solely depended on keyboard navigation. And in case, the website’s navigation is complicated and lengthy, then probably the keyboard user would get frustrated.
Therefore, for WCAG compliance, your website should satisfy all the users. To do so, you must ensure that your website’s navigation only entails the necessary categories. As a result, searching for the relevant stuff will become easier.
9. Always Utilize the Title Tag:
The HTML title element is not usually shown in the webpage body by browsers. However, it is useful for tab titles and screen readers. Hence, make sure that every page of your website has a comprehensive yet brief title that explains what the webpage is about.
Free Web Accessibility Evaluation Tools:
To ensure that your website satisfies the requirements of WCAG compliance, consider taking a test. For this purpose, web-based evaluation tools would work best. A few of which are as follows:
EvalAccess allows you to assess WCAG compliance for an entire site. It summarizes the findings in an easy-to-understand report and describes each mistake found. While it isn’t the greatest access tool, it can be enough to assist most developers and designers in cleaning up their websites.
Sort Site assesses a website’s accessibility by looking at its URL. On the other hand, this site analyzes a complete website and generates a report to identify problems. As a result, it not only rates the website’s overall quality but also points out any flaws, accessibility issues, usability issues, and more.
WAVE assesses a web page’s accessibility by analyzing important accessibility features in the website code. Insert the URL address of any website and leave the rest to it. WAVE will indicate areas that are not accessible and vice versa. This will enable you to make modifications at the right time.
Cynthia Says in finding problems in the content to help you with regards to WCAG compliance. In addition, Cynthia Says verifies one page at a time, enabling you to create a better understanding.
WCAG compliance rules must be adhered to by all businesses. Evaluate your website today by utilizing WAVE and know the areas where you need to work on. Begin your journey to resolving accessibility problems considering the discussed recommendations and you’ll end up generating the best user flow on your website.
Establish new design and project management standards keeping in mind your discrepancies, to create an accessible online environment for your organization. Improving your website accessibility will allow individuals with disabilities to access your content, resulting in a larger audience which will eventually accelerate your business growth.