We live in a largely digital world where phones and computers hold a lot of value. Between social media, work, and basic communication, many of us spend the majority of our days online. Most of the time, we don’t even think twice about how much we use technology in our everyday lives. But for some people, sending a text message or ordering something online isn’t as easy as clicking a few buttons.
Web accessibility issues prevent many people with disabilities from using websites and applications. Because we are on the web so often, inclusivity is just as important online as it is in the physical world.
In this article, we will explore accessibility issues on the web and how companies can meet web accessibility standards. First, let’s take a look at some examples of accessibility issues.
Web Accessibility Examples
Unfortunately, it is common for people with disabilities to experience obstacles in the digital world. This is often due to accessibility issues in web design, including:
- Low contrast: A lot of text that is seen on websites has low contrast against the site background color, which makes it difficult to read for people who have any type of vision impairment.
- Small text size: Similar to low contrast, small text size proves very difficult to navigate when the user has eyesight limitations.
- Flashes and bright colors: Not only are bright colors and flashing ads overwhelming for someone who experiences sensory overload, they’re also potentially dangerous. Sudden blinking lights can trigger seizures for some people, making these digital features a significant threat to their health and well-being.
- Too many distractions: Overly crowded screens can be distracting for people with ADHD or other conditions or disabilities. This makes it very difficult for the user to access the information they need.
- No screen-reader: Blind users or people who have difficulty with reading often don’t have the opportunity to use most websites or applications due to the excessive amount of words on the screen and no screen-reader capabilities.
- Limited navigation options: Keyboards are an essential feature for people with certain motor impairments; however, many websites do not allow individuals to use their keyboard to navigate the site.
These obstacles can prevent individuals with disabilities from seeking information, performing schoolwork at their highest potential, booking appointments, and more. Therefore, website accessibility is crucial to an individual’s independence.
The Four Principles of Website Accessibility
Web accessibility is a broad topic, ranging from coding guidelines to legal rulings. Web Standard accessibility guidelines for websites are organized into four principles.
Web Accessibility Guidelines
- Perceivable: Users must be able to process the information on the site. This means providing text on audio for individuals who cannot hear, and providing audio on text for individuals who cannot see.
- Operable: People of all abilities need to be able to operate all tools and interactive elements on the website or application.
- Understandable: Everyone using the website should be able to understand how it works. The navigation should be consistent and should follow a logical flow.
- Robust: Websites should work across all platforms, devices, and browsers so that access is not restricted to certain users.
If you follow these four principles, then you can be confident your website is accessible for the majority of the population. On the other hand, if you believe your website is missing a few of these key elements, it may be time to rethink how people with different abilities perceive your website.
Not sure where to start? Ask yourself the following questions:
- Would a user with visual impairments be able to use my website?
- Is there anything on my website that a deaf user wouldn’t be able to process?
- Can the functions on my website be performed on a keyboard?
- Is all the text clearly written?
- Are there any distractions like flashes or bright colors?
- Is there clear labeling and a logical consistency to my website?
- Does my website support all browsers and devices?
How to Achieve Website Accessibility
Website accessibility allows users with all backgrounds and abilities to effectively access the information they need. The question is: how is accessibility achieved?
ADA compliance is short for Americans with Disabilities Act Standards for Accessible Design, and can be achieved through automated web accessibility services such as AccessiBe, eSSENTIAL Accessibility, Deque, and Level Access. Not only do these services offer a web accessibility checker to scan your website for inclusivity, but they also help you transition your website with ease. Through providing a summary of your website’s compliance issues and the resources to help fix them, your website will achieve accessibility standards without the hassle. If your website is ADA compliant, it is proactively perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust for all users.
Everyone deserves to use phones and computers without enduring the frustration of inaccessible sites. With a quick installation process, your website can be used by individuals with a diverse range of abilities. Web accessibility should not just be done to attract new customers or move your business forward; rather, it should be done simply because it’s the right thing to do.
In addition to ADA compliance, technology has been increasingly adapting to fit the needs of people with disabilities. Assistive technology in the classroom such as voice-to-text software, modified keyboards, and electronic wheelchairs has helped students immensely when learning how to adapt to technology while learning alongside their peers.
Covey’s Commitment to Accessibility
As a nonprofit organization committed to the well-being and growth of adults with disabilities and the community, we believe that accessibility for all is paramount. While we are passionate about advocating for all kinds of accessibility, ranging from sensory lighting, adaptive yoga, and accessible transportation, we have also come to realize that technology is a significant part of everyday life.
With that being said, we are proud to announce that through AccessiBe, Covey’s website is now ADA compliant! With accommodations such as color adjustments, keyboard navigation, and screen-reader capabilities, more people are able to use our website than ever before! Simply click the blue ADA widget on the bottom right of the screen and select from the series of accommodations.