The use of computers and the internet has been incorporated into our daily lives. In the way we communicate to the way we pay our bills and other adult things that I like to avoid doing (like my g1 and health card renewal). The use of technology is to allow us to do tasks conveniently within the comfort of our homes. These changes seem to have been implemented gradually however, for those with disabilities, these changes can become more of an inconvenience rather than being helpful.
In 2005, the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act came into play to help enforce standards for accessibility to remove the barriers for people with disabilities. These standards allowed people with disabilities to use and participate on the internet with the rest of society.
Here’s a quick and short guide that covers the basics of creating an accessible website for everyone:
- Websites are created by html and css. In css, you can use alt texts to caption your visuals for those who uses a screen reader. If there is no alt texts, the screen reader will simply ignore the image, which will defeat your purpose of taking the time to include those images.
- Similar to number one, use html and css to your advantage by using headers to organize your content in order to allow the screenreader to express your content clearly. The use < h1 > header one is typically for the title, use < h2 >, < h3>, etc for subsections of your content. (Avoid using headers for aesthetic purposes as it may confuse your audience and how the content is laid out.)
- Use colours to your advantage. When using colours on your website, make sure the colours have enough contrast to be read clearly. Avoid colours such as red and green for those who are colourblind.
- Use simple fonts that people can easily read. Preferably, sans-serif fonts such as Arial and Veranda to cater to those with dyslexia.
- For video, use closed captions to display the text from the audio of the video. This allows those who have hearing impairment as well as those who cannot access the audio to have access to the content of the video.
- For audio posts, include a transcript to allow those with hearing impairment to read the content of the audio.
- Internet has become crucial in today’s methods of communications. To cater to the older generations or anyone who may have limited motor control, consider keyboard input and speech input to replace the use of the mouse.
I learned a lot by researching for this blogpost. Prior to researching, my websites only used alt texts for accessibility and I was definitely guilty in using headers for aesthetic purposes rather than accessibility purposes. I hope this guide will help others realize the important and how easy it is to make your website more accessible for your audience.