Removing the barriers and focus on making your business accessible to all people, in all ways.
Accessibility requirements are moving away from the idea of helping people with disabilities find a solution to fit their specific need, and focusing more on removing barriers. If you can determine what things within your business/website may be causing a barrier, finding ways to remove them will help everyone gain more access to what you have to offer.
A new set of Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 has been released and are recommended to make websites more accessible on desktops, laptops, tablets, and mobile devices. The revised guidelines have an additional focus on mobile accessibility, people with low vision, and people with cognitive and learning disabilities. Following these guidelines will not make websites accessible to the needs of every user with these disabilities, but it will help to remove some of the barriers that have caused issues in the past and will make the web content more accessible to users in general.
W3C defines the guideline updates as follows:
- Provide text alternatives for non-text content
- Provide captions and other alternatives for multimedia
- Create content that can be presented in different ways, including by assistive technologies, without losing meaning
- Make it easier for users to see and hear content
- Make all functionality available from a keyboard
- Give users enough time to read and use content
- Do not use content that causes seizures or physical reactions
- Help users navigate and find content
- Make it easier to use inputs other than keyboard
- Make text readable and understandable
- Make content appear and operate in predictable ways
- Help users avoid and correct mistakes
- Maximise compatibility with current and future user tools
Your website needs to be mobile friendly
A little more than half of people who are using the Internet today are searching from their phones rather than any other device. This number is only predicted to increase to three quarters by 2025! It is very important that your website offers the same functions from a smartphone or tablet as it does from a desktop computer.
‘The thing is: mobile sets learning free and we can now learn virtually anything, anywhere and anytime – and that’s amazing.’ – RJ Jacquez
The number of lawsuits are increasing each year when it comes to web accessibility issues so it is important to be prepared and to follow the guidelines. Think about what could be a barrier for your users and try to plan a way to remove it or replace it with something more accessible to more people. You want as many users as possible to have equal access to your information.
But, don’t let website accessibility stress you out. It is a very good thing for you, your business and for all users. The digital world is becoming more accessible all the time on more and more devices, which means that it is getting easier for people to find you and your services. Your job is to continually work on reducing the number of barriers you have in their way and making sure you are prepared to handle any issues that users may have.