Today is Global Accessibility Awareness Day (WAAD)—a day to recognize and promote the importance of digital access and inclusion for people with disabilities and impairments. To help celebrate, here are five things you can do to help ensure your next digital product, project, or service makes the web a more inclusive place.
1. Learn how people with disabilities access, navigate and experience the web.
Accessibility is less about rules and more about people. So focus on people. Understanding how different people access, navigate, and experience the web will help you make your digital products and services more accessible. After all, the more you understand your audiences the better your ability to meet their needs—accessibility is no different.
- Watch the W3C’s Web Perspective Videos: These short videos highlight accessibility features that are essential to people with disabilities and useful for all.
- Axcess Lab has many articles that include both demos and tips:
- Watch How Persons with Disabilities Use the Web: A virtual panel from Deque.
2. Understand the barriers that prevent equal access and use.
Accessibility is about removing barriers that prevent access and use. As product owners, content writers, website administrators, designers, and developers we may unknowingly introduce barriers that prevent people from accessing and using the products and services we create. And it’s not on purpose. More often than not it’s because we don’t realize the choices we make can become a barrier for someone else.
Barriers are the result of a misalignment between a person and their environment. The problem is not the person or the disability. The problem is the misalignment; it creates the barrier that prevents access and use.
Learning about common barriers will help you avoid and prevent those barriers from excluding your audiences. When you remove barriers, you open up possibilities.
- Watch Apple’s video showcasing how technology can allow people to do what they love
- Read Accessibility according to actual people with disabilities
- Review WebAIM’s latest Screen Reader User Survey
- Reference the W3C’s Diverse Abilities and Barriers
3. Conduct an accessibility audit.
Curious about your website’s accessibility? Request an audit. An audit will identify what you’re doing well, what you could improve, and which improvements to do first.
4. Start writing more accessible content
Content is the reason people come to your website. But if your content is too technical, complex, or poorly structured then it becomes a barrier between you and your audiences. Tips to write more accessible content:
5. Make accessibility a core value of your upcoming project.
Whether you’re planning a brand update, video, website refresh, or complete website rebuild, be sure to include accessibility in your list of requirements. Simply say “accessibility is important.” Your vendor will guide you through what level of accessibility is right for your project and what requirements you’ll need to meet.
Interested in more tips, training, or ways to get involved? Check out the WAAD website or contact us with your questions.