Accessible websites help people with disabilities access and participate in web content for a full and enriching experience. With the worldwide web offering perhaps the easiest way to communicate with others, it’s worrying that this conversation has taken as long as it has. Here are five of Fabl Creative’s favourite ways to make any website more accessible:
Include British Sign Language translations on your website
For deaf people, spoken and written English is often a second language, with British Sign Language (BSL) being the first. Very few webpages are deaf-friendly, making it difficult for deaf users and clients to access content, but there are ways to improve this.
Signly, launched by Lloyds bank, is a browser extension that allows businesses and organisations to sign up to have their webpages converted into British Sign Language translations. There is also the option for users to request signed content for pages that haven’t already been translated.
Use a video translator for customer service
As well as your phone number, email address, and contact box, make use of a British Sign Language video relay service to provide your customers with face-to-face access to a translator. Using a tablet or computer, services such as SignVideo allow your customers to work with a professional translator who will connect to customer services via telephone with them.
Write screen reader-friendly content
Designed to convert written text into speech or braille, screen readers enable blind and partially sighted users to access webpages. Content does not need to be drastically rewritten to make it suitable for use with a screen reader, but structuring a page with headings and subheadings, writing clear and concise sentences, and providing alt-text on images (or image descriptions) will all ensure it is more accessible. UserZoom is a great resource to do your research.
Offer coloured webpages
As well as left-aligned, 12 point text, offering different coloured backgrounds for your webpage can make them more accessible for users with dyslexia. White can be disorienting so, when building your website, consider giving your customers the option to choose a colour that suits them.
Consider your layout
The layout of your content will affect most users’ experience. Using bold text for emphasis (rather than italics or capital letters) will make it easier to read for both partially sighted user and those with dyslexia. Clearly structured layouts with clear and sensible headings and subheadings make a page easier for screen readers to navigate and make it more accessible for users with dyslexia.