Top 3 Tips for Website Accessibility

Morgan Strong's blog | Created 3 years ago

I’m very happily a member and organiser of the Meetup group “Perth Web Accessibility and Inclusive Design”.

As part of our regular presentations, catch-ups and workshops we decided to put our heads together and came up with a list of what we deemed were the top three accessibility considerations for content writers, designers, project managers and developers.

With Global Accessibility Awareness Day upon us (15 May 2014), we thought there’s no time like the present to publish this post.

So here they are, the top 3 tips, as decided by Perth Web Accessibility and Inclusive Design Meetup group for each of the major website development roles.

Content Writers

  1. Structure your content.
    Before importing your content from word into the web CMS, please mark it up and structure it with headings, paragraphs and lists.
  2. Stop putting text in images!
    It may look pretty, but please try and separate text from images.
  3. Be succinct, and explain technical terms and acronyms.
    Stick to a point, and when you need to use more technical phrasing, don't be afraid to explain yourself.

UI / UX Designers

  1. Be mindful of devices
    No matter what the site’s purpose is, don't forget it may be used across a plethora of devices, from phones to wide-screen monitors, and tablets to gaming consoles. Pay particular attention to forms, menus and not to disable pinch and zoom, even in responsive sites.
  2. Contrast
    Ensure there is enough contrast to read or see what you've made.
  3. Don't forget assistive technologies
    It's an easy step to skip, but do try and test your designs by using assistive technologies.

Project Manager and Strategy

  1. Set realistic goals
    Set realistic goals and outcomes, even if it's not possible to get 100% of things right within time and budget, and it's absolutely worth pursuing the best that can be achieved.
  2. Make accessibility part of your strategy, not just a project outcome
    Website accessibility should be embedded into an overall strategy, and define what you want that strategic approach to achieve from accessibility. It should not just be tacked on as a project requirement or outcome - it should help inform the project.
  3. Define your risks
    Honestly assess your risks, and what are the outcomes from pursuing good / best practice in terms of your project risk assessments.

Developers

  1. Execute semantic markup.
    Your CMS / code should execute semantic markup from your templates.
  2. Don’t hardcode styles/html that is hard to maintain
    This is self-explanatory, but hardcoded styles quickly start overriding themselves and are difficult to maintain. Perform styling in CSS and JS, not inline and within the text.
  3. Using tables correctly
    Tables are for tabular data. Full stop.

If you’re located around Perth and you’re interested in website accessibility, we welcome you to come join our next Meetup, more details are on our webpage.