The internet is a powerful tool, but it's also very complex and technical. When a website does not use accessibility tools, which can simplify things, it is harder for users to interact with it in an optimized fashion. The list below discusses mistakes that websites make when designing or using software or devices.
Using incorrect links
When there's no accessibility provided on your site, it is important for links to function properly. It is also important that links work in text format as well.
- Watch out for links that don't function properly or take people to the wrong destination. For instance, taking them offsite instead of linking to where you want them to go. This causes frustration as the user can feel lost and unable to navigate the website.
- Watch out for links that take you to the same place. This can be confusing and lets someone falsely believe they'll reach a different webpage immediately after clicking the link.
Insufficient color contrast
The importance of color contrast cannot be understated. For example, if your site uses light grey text on an inactive field it could make the interface less accessible for people with visual impairments.
- The best way to incorporate the right color contrast into the design is early on in the process. Sometimes it's hard to know which adjustments need attention because there are different types of pixel blindness. Therefore, it is important to test the website on various devices, tech sets, etc. so you can address any issues without worrying about how this may affect other aspects.
- The best way to help people who are visually impaired is by using a contrast ratio of at least 4.5:1 for fonts that have regular shapes or 3:1 if they're italicized with an 8 font size and 16 color scheme. Without applying this rule of thumb it could become difficult for someone with poor eyesight to successfully browse and interact with content (which affects 12 million adults).
Add focus indicators
A focus indicator helps users better find their way through content via the keyboard, this is also a WCAG accessibility requirement (more on that here).
The best way to ensure that your website is easy for users and not hard-to-navigate is to focus on indicators. These can be anything from high contrast colors throughout an interface or site's features (not just forms) as well as having the same color everywhere across different browsers/devices that the user may visit–and most importantly: a blue outline around important fields makes everything stand out.
The key to designing and creating focus indicators is by doing it early in the process, like with hover or active states. It's easier than trying later on when you want your software design to reflect a consistent look & feel - having tangible documentation can help ensure designers follow these guidelines instead of having individualized designs which can cause conflict since they don't match standardized instructions.
Lack of keyboard access /check navigation accessibility
WCAG guidelines require that navigation is possible through a keyboard without requiring timings specific keystrokes. Websites need to be designed so that users can navigate easily with the use of a keyboard. That's why it's important to check your navigation menus and submenus. Form submission buttons, media players, sidebar content as well as embedded content when making sure they are accessible with supported devices like assistive technology or screen readers.
Inadequately labeled buttons
It's important to label every interactive element on your website in order for users and blind persons alike. For instance, if you have a button that takes them from one page of content to another it would be a good idea to associate the name "Next Page" or something similar with this action so they know what will happen when pushed without seeing anything else beforehand (in addition: make sure there aren't any other buttons with different text).
- Label placement is important for people with disabilities. For example, a screen reader might not be able to indicate which option on an input menu is labeled "date" if it doesn't have that label clearly visible or accurately described in its instructions manual.
- Designers should also consider accessibility when placing control labels so they're typically placed next to radio buttons and checkboxes either right above them (for easy accessibility) but sometimes near other field types as well.
- To make sure your product is logical, understandable, and intuitive for users it's important to maintain a close visual relationship between the label of each form control. Consistency will help keep things running smoothly in both design systems as well as within individual pages on our website.
Lack of image descriptions or alt text
Web developers should always provide descriptions for images. This is incredibly important because it can help those using assistive technology understand the page's content without confusion, and also ensures a site/page isn't inaccessible to them!
In addition, these alt text descriptions give context about what each image means by way of explanation or relevance - which could make all the difference in an elderly person relying heavily upon screen readers when they're trying desperately just get through one webpage before being overwhelmed.
- For those images that are decorative only, you can skip text labels. This will allow your readers to click through and read the captions for more information if they want it.
- The descriptions should be brief and clear. Anyone contributing graphics, photographs, or other images to the design needs to ensure that their content is accessible for individuals with disabilities by including a description in software designs procedures or user testing plans so it will not get lost among all of the surrounding text on your site.
A simple solution for a complex problem
Your content will be seen by a wide range of users, from handheld consoles to 4k televisions. To make sure you're delivering an accessible experience for everyone who interacts with your software and its features: test on various devices - including assistive technologies such as screen readers or bypassing protection mechanisms such as password protections in order to provide greater accessibility than otherwise possible; consider developing formats that can adapt depending on what device they need to be implemented into (for example 4x3 television screens).
Accessible software helps you capture more of the market
Accessible software ensures the interface is usable to a wide audience. Profitability can be impacted, as organizations increasingly require proof of product accessibility in their proposal processes and there are lawsuits against those who don't comply with applicable standards for digital experiences. Integrating an inaccessible element opens up your company to risk considerably more than if it were fully accessible.
Make your digital products accessible
Designing for accessibility is an ongoing process of ensuring your digital products are accessible and remain that way. Content changes, features get updated with time - all this means there's even more work to do. Design considerations should begin early in order not to inconvenience customers down the line when they update or add new things.
EqualWeb's ultimate goal is to offer a sustainable, comprehensive review of your product and support throughout every stage. We offer a comprehensive audit to identify and prioritize any failures in your system. We provide you with the tools necessary for fixing issues, as well as training on how to prevent new problems from arising during the development cycle.
When you are part of our managed plan, our team regularly patrols looking out for potential trouble before it can become an issue.