Steps to Accessiblity
Test your site
Most common barriers to access and usability are quite simple ones. For example:
- Graphic images without text descriptions
- Web pages that could not be navigated without a mouse
- Poor contrast between text and background colors
- Lack of appropriate labels and instructions on data entry forms
- Difficulty navigating when presented with unfamiliar terminology (e.g. Admissions vs registration, course list vs class list, online courses vs online application, etc.)
A Simple Test: Evaluate your website
Please note these steps will not identify all of the problems with your site, for that you should visit a professional audit site such as NOMENSA.
- Select two or three important or frequently viewed pages from your site such as your homepage, product page, or goals and objectives.
- Check to make sure that all the graphics you're using have pertinent text descriptions (ALT Tags) that explain the image. If not, that's strike one.
- Check to see if you can select all the items on the page without the mouse. People who cannot use a mouse will use the keyboard to navigate the site.
- If you have a video, or have linked to one, or any multimedia file, there must be a captioned or spoken version available that either describes or narrates the presentation.
- Also check to see if your fonts are easily readable and that the colors don't blend with the background, and more so, if they can be increased in size. Most browsers increase fonts very simply by using the control + buttons.
- Lastly, check your language and terminology. Refrain from using unnecessary acronyms, slang and foreign terms that won't translate to readers.
So how did you do?
Automated Accessibility Testing
There are many accessibility testing sites that can detect potential problems with websites. Most charge a fee, however there are a few that will perform a modest scan of your site for free.
One example is WAVE, a web accessibility evaluation tool that is very simple to use. By entering the full website address on the WAVE homepage (also known as url) and WAVE will check it for you. There are other options, but this will be the one most used for our purposes.
For a list of other web accessibility evaluation tools, visit: www.w3.org/WAI/ER/tools/