fbpx
How to Make Your Website Disability Friendly

How to Make Your Website Disability Friendly

How to Make Your Website Disability Friendly

 

How to Make Your Website Disability Friendly

Millions of internet users have some sort of disability. Making websites more accessible for traffic with special needs isn’t a difficult task, but it starts with understanding the challenge. There are many impairments to consider. Things like visual and hearing impairments require multiple approaches. Another all-too-common disability is photosensitive epilepsy. Websites and plugins take pride in ultra-dynamic animations and video clips, but the high-intensity sites can cause seizures for some users. Website accessibility is all about inclusion.

The list of impairments and disabilities is long. Finding ways to make your website accessible to everyone is a never-ending process. As the web evolves and you learn about more unique needs, you’ll realize your website needs to change as well continually. Fortunately, you can find guidance from several sources.

 

What Is Website Accessibility?

Website accessibility is the idea of making your website available for all traffic. Internet visitors are a broad mix of people, some with various disabilities. Standard websites may not account for those. However, taking the time and effort to make your website accessible for all users is beneficial for everyone. 

Accessibility means finding tools and resources to continue to improve your site. Keep in mind that some disabilities and challenges are temporary. Broken arms and temporary blindness (lost glasses or medical work) can make using the computer much more difficult. Some problems develop over time. Think of gradually aging into poor eyesight or hearing. Website accessibility is an understanding of how to reach everyone everywhere.

 

Why Is Accessibility Important?

Designing your website to be more accessible is essential simply to be inclusive. The internet is for everyone. Shouldn’t your website be available too? Not only is being inclusive imperative from the human level, excluding traffic can take a significant toll on your site. Thousands of people can skip over your website due to a lack of something pretty simple, like adding alt-text to images. 

Traffic is important. Your website dies without visitors. However, the growing threat is litigation. The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 helps to make sure accommodations are available for people with disabilities. Websites are now being referred to as places of public accommodation, given the increasing use of sites for everything. 

Title III of the Act states: “Public accommodations must comply with basic nondiscrimination requirements that prohibit exclusion, segregation, and unequal treatment. They also must comply with specific requirements related to architectural standards for new and altered buildings; reasonable modifications to policies, practices, and procedures; effective communication with people with hearing, vision, or speech disabilities; and other access requirements. Additionally, public accommodations must remove barriers in existing buildings where it is easy to do so without much difficulty or expense, given the public accommodation’s resources.”

The rapidly growing number of lawsuits regarding website accessibility is a direct tribute to internet services’ necessity. Your website is no exception. Some countries already have laws in place to govern accessibility, so be sure to take the required steps. 

While the threat of landing in court is intimidating, making your site more accessible has other positive outcomes. By changing specific ways to navigate and updating designs, you can create a more enjoyable experience for all visitors. Customer interface and accessibility go hand in hand, so focusing on accessibility helps all aspects of your website. 

 

How can you make your website more accessible?

At the beginning of this article, we mentioned that making your site more accessible is not a difficult task. As the ADA states, your responsibility is to make changes that are without much difficulty and reasonable expense. There’s no need to redesign your entire site. Here are just a few ways to make your website more accessible.

-Keyboard Friendly: What do we mean by that? Make sure your visitors can navigate your website without a mouse. Many assistive technologies can’t use a mouse, and so, by not making your site keyboard friendly, you immediately exclude anyone needing to use an adapted keyboard. Check out WebAIM for an excellent guide to creating a more keyboard friendly site. 

-Color Scheme: Colorblindness is an all-to-often overlooked disability that substantially impacts whether or not someone can see your content. Be careful about choosing your color scheme. Ideally, you want a heavy contrast between text and background, preferably a dark background. Also, try to avoid similar colors in your design. Most colorblind people don’t only see black and white. They see colors on different spectrums. This effect makes carefully designing your color scheme even more essential.

-Don’t use automatic media: Pages that immediately launch into some kind of video can be annoying for everyone. Imagine not being able to turn it off. Visitors using a screen reader will have exceptional difficulty trying to turn off a video. Others may get confused about where the noise is coming from and immediately leave. Either way, add media wisely.

These examples are some of the bare minimum things you can do to make your site more accessible. Other steps like limiting table use and enabling resizable text aren’t challenging either. Take the time to learn ways you can incorporate some of these features into your website. The payoff will be worth the work.

 

The Internet Is For Everyone

Always remember the internet is for everyone, regardless of if you suffer from a disability or not. Our job as website owners is to be as inclusive as possible. We need to understand these difficulties affect millions of people. Taking even the most basic steps to be more accessible is the least we can do. Along with the business sense of reaching out to as many people as possible, neglecting accessibility requirements can be a threat to your business. In summary, do some research and learn more about how disabilities can affect how internet traffic browses. 

 

If you’re not sure about how your website stacks up, WPClover offers a free website health check, including a WCAG 2.1 report to check accessibility. We’d love to talk with you a little more about your site and what potential steps you can take to improve.

 

 

Benefits of Appointment Scheduling for Small Businesses

Small business owners don’t have enough hours in the day. Full Stop. It feels like there is always too much work and not enough time, but realistically, some organization can free up time. Most owners have issues with organization and time management. That’s not to...

How to Retain Customers with Product Services

So many companies only focus on signing new customers. They offer special rates and sign-up discounts or spend thousands on marketing. However, the real profit comes from customer retention. Why pay more money to focus on new clients when you already have a customer...

How to Maximize Your First Time with Facebook Ads

  Advertising as a small business is daunting. Where do you start? Do you have a budget? Who is your target market, and how are you targeting them? Massive corporations like Nike or Verizon can spend millions of dollars on TV and web ads, but you don’t need all...

Why You Should Use Image Compression on Your Website

Why You Should Use Image Compression on Your Website

Why You Should Use Image Compression on Your Website

We already know that slow page load times can kill your SEO efforts. So, what slows down page speeds? The answer is pretty wide-ranging, but one of the most common problems is image size. We all remember the dial-up days when websites took 10 minutes to load, and a single, grainy image could take even longer. Those times were different, though. We expected it. Today, websites are blazingly fast, and if users have to wait longer than two seconds for a page to load, they’re ready to leave. Luckily, we have image compression to help keep your site loading quickly. 

Because of image compression, we can see the world in vivid colors without having to wait for a dial-up server to piece together a picture one kilobyte at a time. You should be compressing images on your website already, but if not, it’s time to get with the program.

 

What is Compression?

Image compression is the practice of optimizing a large image file into a smaller one to limit the amount of stress placed on your website. Larger pictures with more data, slow load times and can cost you valuable traffic. With compression, you can take the same images, reduce the file size, and immediately see improvements in page speeds. In short, compression is the act of limiting the data an image contains.

There are two main types of compression, lossy and lossless. 

-Lossy refers to image compression or optimization, where the compression strips away bits of data from an image while trying to maintain as much of the image quality as possible. “Lossyness” can result in pixelation or jagged edges because the compression is getting rid of those data segments. Lossy compression is most commonly associated with JPEG images.

-Lossless compression is a way to reduce file size without losing any quality. Without going too far into the weeds, lossless compression essentially rewrites the original file’s data more efficiently. The tradeoff is the image files don’t end up that much smaller. PNGs are an excellent example of lossless compression, but depending on the needs of your site, PNG files may still be too large.

 

Benefits of Image Compression

You don’t have long to grab someone’s attention when they visit your website. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 2-7 seconds does not give you much breathing room for load times. Large image files slow load times and cost you traffic. Worse, slow page speeds drastically affect your SEO. Google does not like slow page speeds, and after video, image files take up as much space on your pages as all other data (coding, fonts, etc.) combined.

How do you make sure your images aren’t your downfall? Easy. Since image compression, by definition, reduces the size and amount of data of an image, your pages can load more quickly. Search engines won’t penalize you for slow page speeds, and visitors won’t get impatient and leave. Optimizing image files has other perks, too.

The smaller file sizes use less bandwidth, meaning less stress on your server. Networks can operate faster when there’s less traffic on the road. Also, website backups are a necessity, and compressed images can speed up that process. Finally, and it almost goes without saying, compressed images take up less space on your server. 

 

Best file types for web images

Before we start discussing which types of files are best, let’s cover the differences. The main four types are JPEGs, PNGs, SVGs, and WEBPs. None of these files are better than the others, but each one has benefits in certain circumstances. 

JPEG – JPEGs are possibly the most commonly known and used image files. JPEGs are easy to compress because they use lossy compression. The images shrink, but because JPEGs delete data to become smaller, the images lose quality. JPEGs are best for simple pictures that can lose a little data and still look the same. The trouble is finding the balance between small and too small. 

PNG – PNGs are the weapon of choice for most people starting or running their own sites. These files can be compressed without losing any quality (lossless compression). However, PNG optimization doesn’t actually remove data, so the image can only be compressed so far, leaving you with what could still be a large image.

SVGs – SVGs are scalable vector graphics. If you are familiar with vector images, you know the draw is the ability to grow or shrink an image without losing pixels. SVGs operate in much the same way. These image files can compress like JPEGs without losing quality like PNGs. SVGs are also incredibly versatile since they show at a higher resolution without slowing down page speeds.

WebP – WebP files are a giant leap into the future of image files. Google created the WebP format to combine superior lossy and lossless compression. Files end up noticeably smaller than both JPEGs and PNGs without losing any quality, and they support transparency just like other files. We’re not to the future yet because not all browsers support WebP images, but it’s a great start.

What kinds of image files you use are dependent on your skill/comfort level with image creation and optimization. SVGs and WebP files are the future because they can do everything PNGs and JPEGs can and then some. But not every occasion suits the more modern image files. Regardless of the image type, the principal goal is to create an optimized file to load on your site.

 

Compress your images with Imagify

Imagify is a WordPress plugin dedicated to image compression and built by the same team who brought us WPRocket. Imagify offers an easy-to-use image compression system allowing you to choose from three different compression types with one click. Depending on your need, you can choose from normal, aggressive, and ultra. If you don’t like your new image, you can re-compress with one click and start again.

Imagify does come with a free plan with a limit of 25MB/month, but plans up to 1GB are only $4.99/month. Image optimization is a critical factor in running your site, so investing in a compression plugin is certainly worth a look.

 

Why compression matters

As cameras and software become more advanced, images become more and more detailed. We can zoom in to see every blade of grass from 20 feet away. The wonders of technology! However, that level of detail comes with a cost. The images can be enormous. 

Trying to add images that size to your website is almost certainly going to slow everything down, hurt your SEO, and lose traffic. The results can be catastrophic. For years, though, image compression has been the solution. Just as cameras and software are improving, image file types continue to develop. Using SVGs and WebP files let you display full images on your site without slowing page speeds, and tools like Imagify make the task more accessible to anyone. 

Without image compression, we wouldn’t see the world online as we do today.

 

How is your website speed performance? WPClover offers a free 30-point website health inspection to check page speeds and walk through possible best practices for improvements. Come sign up, and let’s get started!

 

Benefits of Appointment Scheduling for Small Businesses

Small business owners don’t have enough hours in the day. Full Stop. It feels like there is always too much work and not enough time, but realistically, some organization can free up time. Most owners have issues with organization and time management. That’s not to...

How to Retain Customers with Product Services

So many companies only focus on signing new customers. They offer special rates and sign-up discounts or spend thousands on marketing. However, the real profit comes from customer retention. Why pay more money to focus on new clients when you already have a customer...

How to Maximize Your First Time with Facebook Ads

  Advertising as a small business is daunting. Where do you start? Do you have a budget? Who is your target market, and how are you targeting them? Massive corporations like Nike or Verizon can spend millions of dollars on TV and web ads, but you don’t need all...

WP Feedback

Dive straight into the feedback!
Login below and you can start commenting using your own user instantly