“According to the World Health Organization 16% of the world's population have a disability. That's over 1 billion people worldwide who may be unable to access websites that are not designed with accessibility in mind” (forbes.com).
Recently I had a meeting with a client who observed (very honestly) that her member organisation, although encouraging accessibility and inclusion as one of their core intentions, was not very good at doing it themselves. It made me think that she is not alone. There are times when we all have to quickly upload or swap out a website image, snapping a screenshot thinking “I’ll come back to that alt image description later, I’ll optimise that image later, it’s more important to meet this deadline”.
Beyond embedding accessibility into the design and build of websites (which the For Purpose team prioritises highly), content editors have an important role to play.
I have a set task to check alt tags for our own website that is constantly being pushed down the list for more visible, more ‘important’ jobs.
If 1 in every 6 people has an impairment that makes online information difficult to access, it should be top of that list of things to get right.
If as a business we are to support and encourage inclusion and equal access, to make our services and products available to everyone, we must care to tick this off the list. If our values are to be inclusive, as an organisation we must align our practices with this, and set a standard.
To get us all started on this road to accessibility best practice in our websites, I have compiled a list of simple but helpful resources (there are so many more out there).
- Alt tags on images - simple but hugely effective, here is a best practice breakdown
- Site Improve - scan your site for an audit of your current accessibility and quick fixes
- Colour & contrast - did you know there are New Zealand standards for digital accessibility?
- International web content accessibility guidelines
- Image optimisation - try saving .webp as your image format to create smaller, richer images that make the web faster for those with low speed connections
And once that is done, there is more to learn. Advancing technologies can be embraced to better website usability for all, some thoughts for our next phase of work include recent trends; subtitles and transcripts for audio and video content, all the functionalities of the webpage must be operable through the keyboard, and allowing users to choose the desirable font size and layout.
So please get on board, help create easy access for all, and as always if you have more questions or need any guidance, we are happy to help, contact [email protected]