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Website Accessibility Checking: What You Need to Watch For

26-04-2023

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When it comes to designing a website, accessibility should always be a top priority. Ensuring that your website can be used by people with disabilities is not only ethically responsible, but it also expands your reach to a wider audience.

That's why it's important to conduct a website accessibility check to ensure your website is inclusive and compliant with accessibility guidelines.

A website accessibility checker is a tool that assesses the accessibility of your website. It examines the website's code, structure, and content to identify any potential barriers that could prevent people with disabilities from using your website.

In this article, we'll discuss what to expect when conducting a website accessibility check.

Website Accessibility Checking: What You Need to Watch For


Website design and layout

One of the first things you can expect during an accessibility check is an evaluation of the website's design and layout.

The checker will examine the colour contrast ratio, font size, and spacing to ensure that the website is easy to read and navigate for people with visual impairments.

It will also check for clear and concise language, and provide suggestions for alternative text descriptions of images, videos, and other multimedia elements.


Website code and structure

The website accessibility checker will also examine the website's code and structure to ensure that it meets accessibility guidelines.

This includes examining the use of heading tags, alternative text descriptions for non-text content, and the use of appropriate ARIA (Accessible Rich Internet Applications) roles and attributes.

ARIA roles and attributes help assistive technology devices like screen readers understand the purpose and function of different elements on a webpage.


Website functionality

Another key aspect of an accessibility check is evaluating the website's functionality.

The checker will test the website's navigation, forms, and multimedia content to ensure that they are accessible to people with disabilities.

This includes checking that all form fields have labels and instructions, that multimedia content is captioned and transcribed, and that the website is compatible with keyboard navigation.

One of the most important things to remember when conducting an accessibility check is that it is not a one-time fix.

Websites are dynamic, and content is constantly changing, so it's important to conduct regular accessibility checks to ensure that new content and updates continue to meet accessibility guidelines.


Accessibility report

After the accessibility check is complete, the website accessibility checker will provide a report with a list of issues that need to be addressed.

These issues will be categorised by severity, and the report will provide suggestions for how to fix them.

Some issues may be simple fixes, like adding alternative text descriptions to images, while others may require more complex changes, like restructuring the website's code.


How to choose a website accessibility checker

It's important to note that not all accessibility checkers are created equal. Some checkers may only test for a limited number of issues, while others may not be up to date with the latest accessibility guidelines.

That's why it's important to choose an accessibility checker that is reputable and reliable.

There are several free and paid website accessibility checkers available online. Some popular options include WAVE, Siteimprove, and AChecker

Each of these checkers has its own unique features and strengths, so it's important to choose the one that best fits your needs.

In addition to using a website accessibility checker, there are several other steps you can take to ensure that your website is accessible to people with disabilities.

One important step is to involve people with disabilities in the design and testing process. This can help identify potential barriers that may not be caught by an accessibility checker alone.

Another important step is to educate yourself and your team about accessibility guidelines and best practices.

There are several resources available online, including the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), which provide detailed guidelines for designing accessible websites.


Performing website accessibility checks for a more inclusive website

A website accessibility check is a crucial step in designing an inclusive and accessible website.

By examining the website's design, code, and functionality, an accessibility checker can identify potential barriers and provide suggestions for how to fix them.

Regular accessibility checks will help keep your website compliant and inclusive for everyone.



Article by Pankaj Shah: DCP London Web Designers


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