We’ve all heard of the term “accessibility” in web design. Most web designers and programmers may understand the term to mean creating a site that is available to global users from a variety of demographics. But there is actually much more to website accessibility than that.
If you have an e-commerce site and are looking for ways to grow your business, you may be missing out on an entire market if your site is not accessible to users with disabilities. The U.S. Census Bureau released figures that suggest staggering numbers: over 57 million Americans have a disability, and 54% of adults living with a disability go online. For website owners, this means that all sites need to accommodate the needs of disabled users who may require clearer page designs, audio and visual explanations, and other aids.
Here are 3 ways to make your site more accessible to users of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds:
Update the Navigation
In order to optimize your website to generate sales, you will need to make sure that every user can access the various parts of the site, including the products, item details, and payment process. Even if you aren’t an e-commerce site owner, your site should always be compatible and manageable in order to increase the visibility and number of daily shares or hits. Consider updating the navigation to include a search bar, a primary navigation, and a footer navigation for enhanced clarity.
Pare Down the Stimulation
You may also want to reconfigure the stimulation that your site effects, in terms of the graphics and text. If your site has tons of flashy, in-your-face graphics that are interacting with or distracting users from the main text, this will not be an appealing design for people with Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) or autism. And truthfully, nobody wants to surf a site that has too many animations, videos, or extraneous files assaulting them from all sides.
Create Subtitles and Transcripts
For people with hearing or visual impairments, it will be difficult to access a site that overuses elements like videos or sound files. If you need to include these features, consider providing subtitles or full-length transcripts alongside the content. This way, your content will be understood by users with disabilities, and perhaps even better understood by your user base in general. Clarity and organization, after all, is everything in the making of a successful website.
By incorporating these considerations into your web design, you can ensure that users of all demographics and abilities can navigate your site in a way that brings more website accessibility and overall improved experience.
Author Bio: Now working as a writer, Jackie started her career in IT, both as a teacher and latterly as a software developer, but after becoming a mom she refocused and decided to spend more time with her family. When she’s not writing, she volunteers for a number of local mental health charities, including some who support youngsters and adults with ASD as Jackie and one of her daughters are both on the spectrum.