There’s a good chance that you’ll have already heard a fair bit about website accessibility, especially if you have been talking to a trustworthy web design company such as PENNInk Productions.
What makes accessibility something that needs to be absolutely fundamental to how you conceive, design and construct your website, rather than a mere optional extra or nice to have?
There are many good reasons to care about accessibility
First of all, let’s be clear what we mean by ‘web accessibility’. We’re referring to the notion that any given website should be as easy to use as possible for the broadest possible audience – regardless of any condition that may affect their capabilities, or what hardware or software they need to use.
With millions of Internet users having special needs, disabilities or impairments that may impact their ability to use certain types of websites, if you neglect accessibility when designing your own website, you might be needlessly turning away potential customers. These include users of screen readers, the deaf or hard of hearing, those with physical or motor disabilities, users with low vision, dyslexia, anxiety, or autism.
However, there isn’t merely a financial or even moral obligation to make your site easier to use for those with such disabilities or conditions, who may therefore need to use assistive technologies, such as screen readers or speech recognition software to make the most of the web. The reason is that there is also often a pressing legal need for organisations to ensure the accessibility of their websites, as governments around the world increasingly implement laws in relation to web and software accessibility.
In the UK, regulations have recently come into force on the accessibility of the websites and mobile applications of public sector bodies. Public sector websites published on or after 23 September 2018 must already be compliant, whereas for websites published before this date, the deadline for compliance is 23 September 2020. Meanwhile the deadline for apps is 23 June 2021.
Talk to us about the crucial steps you can take
Now that you’re aware of just how increasingly important it is to embrace accessibility in the design of your website, how can working with a web design company like ours make your website truly accessible?
There is a wide range of ways in which this can be achieved (see gallery above). The most important point, however, is that you should always start a web design project with accessibility a front-and-centre priority, rather than something to be merely added in later.
From ensuring your website is keyboard-friendly and being careful with the colours you choose for your site, right through to striking the right balance with the line length and amount of text, there’s a lot that you can do – both big and small – to begin to enhance and refine your website’s accessibility.
For a more in-depth conversation, why not give PENNInk Productions a call? We can be your indispensable web design company, whatever the extent of your experience with web accessibility to date, so that all of the most obvious – and of course, least obvious – bases are covered.
Edward Solomon has over 15 years’ experience in project management, technical education, computer networking, web design and development and is a Digital Business Consultant for PENNInk Productions Ltd.