There are so many things to think about when you’re creating a website. You want it to look good, have helpful and interesting content, and just generally attract visitors. While you’re thinking about all of the details surrounding your website, there is one big thing that might get lost in the shuffle – accessibility.
Making sure your website is accessible to all of your visitors is critical. With growing numbers of web users requiring accommodations to interact with digital content, this issue is only going to become more important.
Putting off checking whether or not your website is accessible just isn’t practical at this point. Not only are you potentially alienating users, you’re opening yourself up to the possibility of accessibility lawsuits. Not complying with WCAG 2.0 guidelines can cause all sorts of issues.
It’s best to start tackling compliance issues right now, but where should you begin? First, you’ll need to figure out if your site is compliant, and if it isn’t how to fix that. Here are 3 simple ways to start figuring out the compliance-level of your website.
1. Understand What WCAG 2.0 Means
We’ve been using the term WCAG, and it’s ok if you’re not too sure what it means. WCAG is the acronym used for Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.
The 2.0 part just indicates it’s an updated form of these guidelines. The goal of WCAG is to make sure that everyone can easily access content that’s on the web. These guidelines are akin to making sure that your building has a wheelchair ramp or your bank’s ATM has braille on the keypad.
These standard are extremely important to millions of users. While the internet becomes more ubiquitous, it’s up to website owners to ensure it’s accessible to everyone. WCAG 2.0 is here to help give you an idea of what accessibility options are needed and how you can modify your website to help your users. Now that you know that the rules exist, it’s time to discuss what you can do to comply.
2. Use a Contrast Checker
This is the easiest way for you to start bringing your website up to speed. If you’ve ever looked at a website that has light text on a light colored background, then you’ll know what an issue this can be. While you might have been able to squint and make out what you were reading, some users won’t have that option.
WCAG 2.0 guidelines set contrast ratios that you need to follow to ensure your content is readable. If the ratio is off, you can change the color of your background or your font to help make things easier to read.
Some contrast checkers even help you to see what it’s like for your colorblind users who are looking at your site. This helpful perspective will give you a clear way to know if you need to make modifications. UserWay has a contrast checker to help you out, and you can learn more about checking your website’s contrast here.
3. Use a Comprehensive Accessibility Tester
This is really the best thing you can do to bring your website up to snuff. There are many types of testing sites that will give you various reports. We’ve reviewed some of the most helpful checkers out there, so just click on this link to figure out which one will work best for you.
They all have different features, but in the end they just make sure you know which pieces of your website are non-compliant. Some checkers will tell you how to fix the problems, and will make it easier for you to meet existing standards.
These reports will throw a lot at you at once, so be prepared to work through the details piece-by-piece. Tackling all of the changes at once might be a bit overwhelming if you aren’t a web developer. Still, the actions you can take will help your users immensely, so it is absolutely worth it.
4. Install an Accessibility Widget
These widgets are extremely helpful because they automatically identify components of websites that might not comply with WCAG 2.0 and make the changes necessary to make the site more accessible. Everything from updating the color contrast to changing the text size can be achieved by using these helpful tools.
There are many widgets out there with different interfaces, so it’s important to find the best one for you. You can start by checking out the UserWay Accessibility Widget, which you can install right now for free.
Now that you know where your site stands, it’s time to start fixing things. If you’re just building your site now, working these accessibility standards into the initial design is the best way to go about it. If your site is complete, thankfully there are tools out there to help you find where the issues with your site are hiding.
However, achieving 100% compliance is currently not an option because the WCAG 2.0 guidelines are still vague. Until a certification process exists, you will never be absolutely sure you’ve gotten it right. Still, taking these steps will help you get closer.