Is Your Website Accessible?

What does it mean to have an accessible website? Why is it important?  An accessible website is one that is user friendly for all types of people including those who are visually, reading, and hearing impaired.

Having an accessible website is important because it doesn’t exclude anything.  A common misconception is that having an impairment keeps someone from performing “normal” tasks like web surfing, music downloading, and video watching.  However, this is untrue.  Therefore, having a website that anyone can use is important to ensure your message has the ability to reach anyone.

Consider these ideas:

1 Make sure your Images have ALT text.

The Alt text is a word or phrase that can be inserted as an attribute in an HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) document to tell Web site viewers the nature or contents of an image. And since screen readers cannot “read” images they cannot see the image below.  In order for some visually impaired people to understand it you have to have a written descriptions in the Alt box. A common mistake is to typ0e “Image 003.” However, what you should put is “The American Flag waving in the wind

“The American Flag waving in the wind”

2. Organize the structure of your content.

Make sure your content has a header because that is what the screen reader notices first when reading content.  Make sure the header is in the order of your content if you have your content broken up (side note, if you are using WordPress the title of the post or page is already header 1)

  1. Links

When working on your Menu for your website remember to have a correct Navigation Label and a good Title Attribute. Just having a “click here” may not work with all screen readers.

Also, consider having a site map somewhere on your website that lists all your links.

When thinking of accessibility consider whether or not your website is easy to navigate using a keyboard.  Not all users use a mouse to navigate.

Check out this Table for some examples of the MANY interaction-keystroke actions

Interaction Keystrokes
Navigate the website Tab +Shift
Link Enter
(dropdown) menu Up and Down right and left Arrow then enter


4 Video

Having a video on your website is great and adds a lot to your site, just make sure it accessible.

  1. Consider whether or not you should allow Auto-play. Your viewer may need to adjust settings before they are able to see and appreciate your video.  It can be frustrating to have videos play automatically.
  2. Use Captions- little piece of text that appears on the video that allow deaf and hard-of-hearing users to understand the dialogue (they are different from subtitles).
  3. Audio descriptions- this is when audio is spoken along with the video giving every detail (you see this a lot in music videos on YouTube)
  4. Audio–When having audio on your website make sure to have effective text descriptions

Finally, make sure to do consider these ideas:

background music

flashing text or images

keyboard maneuverability


Working together we can make your website accessible to everyone

Check out this video of how a screen reader works


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