How do you feel when you get to a store with a good reputation and find that an essential item you need is not available? Perhaps you find that your friends can get an alternative item, but you are not able to use the alternative item. You visit the next store, and while they have the item, you don’t like their brand as much as you did the one in the previous store. You visit your favorite store again over several days, but the item is still not available, yet you see that the alternative is always readily available. Wouldn’t you feel left out?
Now consider a scenario where you are a content creator, or a website or application developer. Is your product or information made accessible to blind or visually challenged people? You might quickly say to yourself, “Yes, my content is accessible, just look it up on a search engine and there you will find links to it!” Is that all that accessibility means?
Accessibility (as per the purpose of this article) refers to the usability of websites, applications, products, and services to people with disabilities or infirmities. A goal should be that all users of your product or service can do so with independence, without difficulty, despite their differing conditions.
When you consider the accessibility needs of others:
You ensure that people with disabilities don’t get compromised information
You are contributing to building an inclusive society for people with disabilities
You are likely to attract customers who are living with disabilities
You show consideration for disabled people’s security and privacy, as they don’t have to rely on another person to perform tasks for them, such as that of entering their password, credit card or any other sensitive information when accessing your services
How Can You Achieve the Goal of Accessibility?
Look at companies that are already including accessibility in their sites, products, and services such as Apple, Microsoft, and Google.
Ensure that fonts and text styles on your website can be easily read
Make sure that pictures and any graphical content is described through alternative text, so blind people may benefit from the same provisions as their sighted users
Make sure that elements on your site and application such as links, buttons, checkboxes, and more are clearly labeled. This will enable a screen reader user to quickly navigate to their desired item with navigation keys, saving them time that would otherwise be lost in trying to find it through the entire website.
Perform accessibility testing of your site. Companies such as Google provide free accessibility testing solutions.
If producing your documents in the Microsoft Office productivity suite, use the accessibility checker available in your office before saving and publishing your work.
Make it your goal to check the state of accessibility on your product, service, application, and website. Should you see a need for improvement, have an objective of achieving that goal. You have the power to make a visit to your website an incredible experience for both blind and sighted people.